Legal News: Landlord and Tenant (At-will tenancy - Notice - Waiver)

Mass Lawyers Weekly ("This Week's Decisions") 1/27/2020

Where a Housing Court Judge awarded a defendant tenant $918.95 after a summary process trial, a remand must be ordered because the judge did not find either that the plaintiff landlord waived written notice of the termination of the at-will tenancy or fats that would compel that finding.

"Here, in the 'the totality of the circumstances, the trial judge found that the Tenant ceded possession of the Premises with his final rent payment at the end of January of 2018.' The trial judge further found that the tenant's son, who did not live in the premises, 'paid rent for the Premises to the Landlord for the months of February of 2018 and March of 2018.' The facts that the tenant  had vacated the premises and the landlord accepted payments from another is evidence supporting a finding of a waiver of notice, but they do not compel such a finding. ... Accordingly, in the absence of further factual findings, we cannot conclude that the judgment was proper. ...

"The judgment is vacated and the case is remanded for further findings on the question whether the landlord explicitly or implicitly waived notice of the termination of the tenancy. Should the judge find such waiver, the judge may reinstate the judgment. Should the judge find that the tenant failed to meet his burden of showing that the landlord so waived notice, the judge should proceed in accordance with this memorandum and order."