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    Massachusetts Renter's Avatar
    Massachusetts Renter Posts: 3, Reputation: 1
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    #1

    Mar 21, 2008, 08:47 AM
    Can a landlord just change the locks?
    I live in Massachusetts and have a sticky situation and hope someone can help. We moved into a house on Nov 27 2007 and both myself and wife signed a lease with a stipulation in writing that in 6 months (it was a 6 month lease) the house would be put up for sale. The landlord said he would make a copy of the lease and mail it to us but never did until 2 weeks ago. When we received the lease, it was not the lease we signed. The "new" lease was now a month to month stating the house was up for sale and would be shown while we lived there. To top it all off, my wife's signature was not the signature she signed it with. The landlord used a paper she had signed for FEMA help and had her maiden name on it (we were not married during Hurricane Katrina) and copied and pasted it on the "new" lease. You can see on the lease her name was copied but his is in a really dark ink like it was signed after the copy was made. Since this "new" lease was not what we signed we moved out mid month and when we went to go check on things and grab a few loose ends we had there, we noticed the locks were changed. The rent for March was paid and were wondering if he is allowed to do that before the month his up. We did not give a notice yet and was going to at the end of the month (he would still have received his rent from FEMA) and so we would have had enough time to completely move and properly give a months notice. Are we entiltled to either/or 1/2 months rent plus security deposit? Any information will be greatly appreciated so we know whether we have to go to small claims court.
    JudyKayTee's Avatar
    JudyKayTee Posts: 46,505, Reputation: 4600
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    #2

    Mar 21, 2008, 10:06 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by Massachusetts Renter
    I live in Massachusetts and have a sticky situation and hope someone can help. We moved into a house on Nov 27 2007 and both myself and wife signed a lease with a stipulation in writing that in 6 months (it was a 6 month lease) the house would be put up for sale. The landlord said he would make a copy of the lease and mail it to us but never did until 2 weeks ago. When we received the lease, it was not the lease we signed. The "new" lease was now a month to month stating the house was up for sale and would be shown while we lived there. To top it all off, my wife's signature was not the signature she signed it with. The landlord used a paper she had signed for FEMA help and had her maiden name on it (we were not married during Hurricane Katrina) and copied and pasted it on the "new" lease. You can see on the lease her name was copied but his is in a really dark ink like it was signed after the copy was made. Since this "new" lease was not what we signed we moved out mid month and when we went to go check on things and grab a few loose ends we had there, we noticed the locks were changed. The rent for March was paid and were wondering if he is allowed to do that before the month his up. We did not give a notice yet and was going to at the end of the month (he would still have received his rent from FEMA) and so we would have had enough time to completely move and properly give a months notice. Are we entiltled to either/or 1/2 months rent plus security deposit? Any information will be greatly appreciated so we know whether we have to go to small claims court.

    You posted before that you were going to be evicted because your rent was unpaid - did that work itself out?

    And, no, he has to evict you legally. He can't just change the locks which he apparently did not do so I'd take him to Small Claims Court.
    Massachusetts Renter's Avatar
    Massachusetts Renter Posts: 3, Reputation: 1
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    #3

    Mar 21, 2008, 10:38 AM
    Yes when I wrote before about him complaining he didn't receive his rent I told him he needed to contact the people who sent him the paperwork to be completed so he could get that rent. His voice mail was over the top and then he called a few days later to talk normal like nothing happened. I called the place and they said he did indeed get the money and he was just trying to possibly see if he could get more. They said there was nothing they could do about that so I just told him we knew about he got paid and he didn't mention it again. He is a classic case of slumlord. I actually had a real estate agent say that the house was not livable (wiring hanging out of walls from his renovation as well as plain hole's in wall where he was going to do something with insulation coming out. We do have pictures to bring to court. Thank you for the advice and I will proceed Monday with small claims court.
    JudyKayTee's Avatar
    JudyKayTee Posts: 46,505, Reputation: 4600
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    #4

    Mar 21, 2008, 03:49 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by Massachusetts Renter
    Yes when I wrote before about him complaining he didn't receive his rent I told him he needed to contact the people who sent him the paperwork to be completed so he could get that rent. His voice mail was over the top and then he called a few days later to talk normal like nothing happened. I called the place and they said he did indeed get the money and he was just trying to possibly see if he could get more. They said there was nothing they could do about that so I just told him we knew about he got paid and he didnt mention it again. He is a classic case of slumlord. I actually had a real estate agent say that the house was not livable (wiring hanging out of walls from his renovation as well as plain hole's in wall where he was going to do something with insulation coming out. We do have pictures to bring to court. Thank you for the advice and I will proceed monday with small claims court.

    And would you take a second to come back and let "us" know how it worked out?

    Sad that you had to suffer through Katrina... and then suffer through this landlord.

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