Landlord Advocacy

Landlord Advocacy

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Free 15-minute consultation for qualified landlords through our One-on-One Legal Advice program

Connect with a lawyer conveniently through LegalSquirrel, a software platform where client and lawyer collaborate in a virtual and secure workspace in real-time.

 

To see if you qualify to speak to a lawyer, please fill out the form here.

What We Offer

Who We Are

The Volunteer Lawyers Project’s Landlord Advocacy Program is a team of attorneys, paralegals, and law students from all segments of the community working together to serve low-income small landlords throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  

When Our Work Began

In October 2020, the Volunteer Lawyers Project joined the statewide Eviction Diversion Initiative’s COVID Eviction Legal Help Project (CELHP for short). Now, under a new Eviction Legal Aid grant, this project’s purpose is to continue helping low-income small landlords facing a housing crisis by providing high-quality assistance.  Read more.

Services & Programs

  • Free Legal Assistance
    • One-on-One legal advice
      • A 15-minute consultation with a lawyer
  • Financial Assistance Application Support (FAAS)
    • Get money to cover your tenant’s unpaid rent
    • Get money to pay for your mortgage payments
      • Financial assistance through state funded HAF programs
  • Educational Materials and Resources (or scroll down for the resources library)
    • 100% free landlord resources
    • Eviction process:
      • Navigating the Notice to Quit (NTQ)
      • Obligations of Being a Landlord
    • Educational webinars/clinics (upcoming)
  • Limited Assistance (LAR)
    • Intake on a case-by-case basis

Success Stories

Another small win is a case about a 47-year-old English speaking landlord. The client had a status conference scheduled about a week prior to seeking VLP’s assistance. There was no new scheduled court date until recently. VLP repeatedly called the clerk’s office to ask about when a new court event will be scheduled. Finally, a clerk told to file an NOA to speed up the rescheduled court date. 

 

Outcome: VLP immediately filed an NOA and was able to get a scheduled court event for the client within a week. If this client did not come to VLP for assistance, he may still be waiting for a court date.

Tenant had not paid rent. There were regular visits from police regarding behavior of tenant and tenant’s threats to the landlord that he did not have to leave or pay rent. Meanwhile, Tenant was damaging the property, which was confirmed by the Board of Health. Landlord called VLP. Police told her to keep working with VLP.

 

Outcome: The Board of Health congratulated her when the tenant finally moved out and she was able to make the repairs. All resulted without a need for court action.

Landlord lives in a duplex with her mother and the Tenant and her family live in the other apartment. After Tenant fell behind in rent, she called the Housing Inspection Department and yet refused to permit the landlord access to make repairs, instead announcing that she intended to own the landlord’s home. Tenant made threats to Landlord and to Landlord’s mother. At one point, the police were called and issued an order of protection against the Tenant to protect the Landlord’s mother.  The landlord contacted VLP to seek legal advice.

 

Outcome:  Landlord’s mother has an extended order of protection to protect her from the tenant, the court ordered the tenant to permit access so repairs could be made and landlord received one year’s rent arrearage from the RAFT program. No eviction action was filed.  VLP will continue to represent the Landlord.

Tenant had not paid rent for close to a year. Landlord filed an eviction action based on non payment of rent.

 

Outcome: On the day of trial, with the help of housing court mediation, and the presence of the Wayfinders group, Landlord and Tenant were able to enter into an agreement requiring the Tenant to immediately apply for RAFT/financial assistance to cover the full rental arrearage and the case was continued to allow for the tenant to file. “If I wasn’t represented, all of this would have went over my head”. VLP will continue to represent Landlord for her next two court dates.

Our client is a 48-year old Spanish-speaking landlord. Her husband, who spoke English and handled all communications, recently left the relationship leaving her to deal with the process alone. She felt intimidated, frustrated, and confused.

 

The client’s tenant owed her $14,000 in rent arrears. She had tried unsuccessfully to get her tenant to apply for RAFT. To make matters worse, not only did the tenant smoke inside the unit when they were not supposed to, they would not allow our client access to do repairs. Our client ended up owing over $20,000 on her mortgage payments. She did not know there was assistance for landlords but was relieved when she was put in touch with a VLP bilingual staff member.

 

Outcome: Since VLP began representing the client, she was awarded $10,000 for mortgage payments and $18,000 in rental arrears. The tenant did not abide by the agreement until a call was made to their attorney. The tenant has since allowed our client to make necessary renovations and repairs. The client is relieved, knowing she will not lose her home.

What Our Clients Are Saying

  • “Wow! I had no idea there was help for low-income, small landlords.” 
  • “I can’t thank you both enough for your support. I hope that all of our march is a march for the better.  Love you both!” 
  • “Thank you both for being there. It matters to me like you do not know.”

Latest News

Resources For Landlords

The documents and forms posted are for informational purposes only. They may change as the law, regulation and requirements can change without notice. Please make sure to check for the most up to date information.

 

The below resources may no longer be relevant for new applicants. They are listed below for informational purposes only:

 

Educational Videos for Landlords

The videos posted are for informational purposes only. They may change as the law, regulation and requirements can change without notice. Please make sure to check for the most up to date information.

Marketing Materials

Contact Us

  • Call 857-320-6452 to speak with our Landlord Project Coordinator about an on-going case or a new case.
  • Are you a lawyer, law student, paralegal or members of the legal community? Click here to learn about volunteer opportunities with the Landlord Advocacy program.

Community Referral

If you are a community advocate or leader looking to refer a small landlord and/or if you are interested in collaborating with us, please email echorm@vlpnet.org.

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If you are a tenant seeking legal assistance, please fill out our online application here. If you don’t have an email address, please call VLP’s helpline 617-603-1700 between 9am-12pm EST to speak with an intake specialist.