On April 24, 2017, Attorney Ken Krems was featured on the front page of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, in its article “Landlord-tenant bar busy tackling ‘legal pot’ issue.” Attorney Krems, a leader in the field of real estate law who represents more than 20 companies managing approximately 15,000 apartments in Massachusetts, was interviewed by the news publication regarding the legal implications facing property managers following Massachusetts’ legalization of marijuana.
Article by Kenneth Krems for New England Affordable Housing Management Association publication
You have a few vacancies, so it is time to see who is at the top of your waiting list. The first applicant is a man with some history of drug addiction. You are uneasy about accepting him as a tenant. You want to protect your site from drug users, but you vaguely remember that drug addicts have some protection under the law. What should you do?
Under the American with Disabilities Act and other statutes, it is illegal to refuse to rent to an applicant based upon the handicapped status of the applicant. In general, substance abusers are protected from discrimination by the statues, so you cannot refuse to rent an apartment to someone simply because he has a history of using drugs.
Article by Kenneth Krems for New England Assisted Housing Management Association
Recently landlords have had to deal more often with tenants who use drugs in, and sell drugs out of, their apartments. Managers want to evict these tenants as quickly and inexpensively as possible, and do not want to commence a court action unless there is a strong likelihood that they will be successful. There are several types of actions which landlords can institute, and various evidentiary tips which can be utilized to improve the chances of winning.
Most often landlords will serve the tenant with a thirty-day notice to quit for cause or nuisance. The notice is based upon language in subsidized leases which prohibits the tenant from engaging in or permitting others to engage in unlawful activities in the unit or in common areas, including the possession, use or sale of illegal drugs. After the thirty days expire, the landlord commences an eviction action in court. The problem with following this procedure is that it takes a minimum of two to four months from start to finish.