My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of: Massachusetts
I currently live in a house that has gone through a full foreclosure. I was a bone-fide tenant for years before this happened. The previous landlord (whom I was living with) moved out of the home in August of 2019, and in December 2019 I received paperwork that said the bank had purchased the house.
I receive Chapter 115 benefits, which is financial assistance for veterans living in Massachusetts who are unable to work (in my case for a prolonged back issue that I have been waiting for a year to have surgery on). Prior to moving, the landlord assured me she had paid all the bills up to that point, and that everything was in good order. In mid-August 2019, the town informed me that they would be shutting off the water in a week if the water bill was not paid. She hadn't paid it, and when I moved the trash, gas, and electricity to my name that month as well I found out she had not paid those bills either (I am not on the hook for any of those bills she did not pay). I called my veterans services officer (“VSO”) to inquire about help they could provide, and the next month when I picked up my check was informed—without a notice of action—that they had terminated the rent portion of my check because they believed that the house was abandoned because she had moved to Idaho. I appealed it, and it took until February for a decision to be reached on that appeal. The action was overturned and I was entitled to the back-rent portion. Rather than provide it to me in my next check, they contacted her and asked her to fill out some paperwork, and they'd mail the check directly to her instead. From my understanding, she has since received the check. I have tried to contact her via phone and e-mail, and I know her phone is active, to receive the funds needed to take care of the bills (as we had agreed upon previously) since she was still obligated to handle them, as her housing verification with the town said that electricity and gas in particular were covered. When asked about what the rent was being used for by my VSO in August/September, she had specifically told them it was for “bills and maintenance”, as she was required to do. She appears to be ducking my phone calls, and the e-mail I sent on Friday has not been responded to. In this case, I am loathe to bring in veterans services as I can be held liable for what is going on, so what are my options since this would be interstate to get what I need?
Second, after the sale in December the bank authorized a realtor to handle the property. I contacted them after I received the letter and the woman I spoke to has been incredibly pushy about getting me out of the house. I even offered to pay rent until I had my surgery (which was suppsoed ot be in January but was cancelled because of health insurance issue, and now with COVID won't be until June/July). I've spoken to her three times despite her claiming that she has “called and e-mailed consistently”. She has never once e-mailed me and every call she's made I have returned promptly. I am under the impression that I am protected by the Protecting Tenants in Foreclosure Act because the foreclosure happened after it was signed back into law by Trump. When I even mentioned this to her she said that the bank didn't need to follow it as “they had no idea there was a tenant when they took over”. Be that as it may, with COVID preventing evictions and they haven't sent me any paperwork to move out at all, I am curious if I will be protected still by the 90-days before an eviction can happen and if I can finally get this surgery done.