A resident of the West End apartment complex has filed what she hopes will become a class-action lawsuit against her landlord over a $500 "amenity fee" that supposedly helps pay for a fitness center, concierge and freight elevator, but which she says violates a Massachusetts tenant-rights law.
In her lawsuit against Equity Residential Management, Cheryl Miller says the company's tenants are owed more than $5 million for such fees since 2008 on the 6,000 apartments it leases in Massachusetts. Miller filed the suit yesterday in US District Court in Boston over the one-time fee she had to pay in addition to the $2,065 monthly rent on her 18th-floor unit at 10 Emerson Place.
Miller charges the mandatory fee specifically violates a state security-deposit law that says landlords cannot force tenants signing a lease to pay anything other than first and last month's rent, a security deposit and the cost of a new lock and key. In her suit, Miller charges:
The Amenity Fee is not first month's rent or last month's rent. It is not refundable, it is not to be applied toward rent for the first or last month of the tenancy, it is, not used to offset rent for those periods, and it is not equivalent in amount to the monthly rent.