Can my landlord refuse to give me rent receipts and kick me out of his house at will?

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Can my landlord refuse to give me rent receipts and kick me out of his house at will?

I rent a room for $400 a month. My landlord got into a verbal argument with me tonight because I caught him breaking into my locked room, which to me is a violation of my privacy. I calledthe police however they didn’t file a report becuase it was not a criminal matter. I said he broke into my room and that is what caused the fights. He then refused to give me rent receipts and is threatening to turn of my utilities, throw my stuff out the door, and lock me out. Ifear that he will do this and the police will do nothing about it. I’ve stayed for almost 2 years. I refuse to pay due to this incident and code violations.

Asked on August 17, 2011 Massachusetts

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You have raised two very different issues in your last statement that you have refused to pay the rent.  First of all you can not "refuse" to pay the rent.  If you want to establish that you are a tenant with rights this is not a smart move anyway.  Now, if there are violations that make the house uninhabitable under the law and that you want fixed, you can go down to your local landlord tenant court to ask that you be able to pay your rent in to court until such time as the landlord fixes the violations.  If the landlord turns off your utilities at than point in time the courts can sanction him.  He can not enter that portion of the house that you occupy as a legal tenant except under certain conditions and with notice.  He can not throw your stuff out unless he has an order of eviction and the sheriff or marshal comes to clean out your stuff.  As for the rental receipt, learn a good lesson here: never pay in cash. 


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