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Northeastern students say somebody drilled peepholes into their Queensberry Street apartment

WBZ reports their landlord is kicking them out after they withheld rent pending the outcome of a BPD investigation.

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By either Uhub or the link. Can they do this? Was this a valid eviction?

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Voting closed 26

On the eviction, they can do it. The landlord repaired the damage, which is what they are supposed to do. If the tenants had an inherent fear of being in the apartment, they could have just left. That would have lead to a question about the security deposit, but that's not an issue brought out here.

You can withhold rent if you present the landlord with a list of things that are wrong in the apartment (real issues, like a leaky faucet or a hole in the wall, not trivial things like a dislike of the colors the walls are painted) and the landlord does not fix the problems. You would still have to pay the due rent eventually, after the repairs are made. The story looks like the landlord kept up their end of the bargain. That puts it on the renters to do what they are contractually required to do.

Do note that I am not a lawyer, but I have looked at this website in the past. Also, of course the peephole is creepy to say the least and a criminal act to be sure. The gut views are about the landlord.

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Voting closed 58

... issue an order to evict but only a judge can evict.
These women have said they have found a new place to live and plan to move in about 3 weeks. It takes longer than that to even file for eviction.

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Is there a lease involved ? According to the all knowing yelp site, the realty management company present well. There is more to all this than a few peak holes.What is on the other side of the wall for one thing, a vacant viewing apartment?

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Were the holes drilled in from another apartment? From common spaces in the building? From outdoors? From space controlled by the landlord?

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They were old holes from cable wires.

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One was in a closet at the closet rod level. And according to WBZ, could still be used as a peephole even when the closet doors were closed.

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Voting closed 14

Once the filing is done, it takes months to get the hearing date for the judge to grant or deny the eviction. At least 3-6 months.

From the WBZ report, which does lack a lot of pertinent detail, the tenants "were slapped with an eviction notice after her mother filed a formal complaint withholding rent pending the police investigation". That sounds like the first time the landlord was notified of the holes (because it's unlikely the tenants had notified the landlord before without notifying the police. If something is police worthy, you notify them immediately). To legally withhold rent, a tenant must first give the landlord written notice of the health and safety violation and also give the landlord time to repair (5 business days for a health and safety violation).

So if the mother's "formal complaint" was the first time the landlord got written notification of the holes, then the eviction filing doesn't meet the legal standard for retaliatory eviction.

Regarding the two holes being peep holes, as someone else here suggested, they could be cable holes. One is low to the floor so most likely that one is. The other one, in the closet and mostly obstructed by the closet doors, is eye high which is unusual but maybe someosne wanted a high mounted television without the cable showing in the room??

Interesting that WBZ was able to get to the area behind the holes even though the landlord did not respond to their calls. So it's unlikely that the landlord gave WBZ access to that area, thus it must have been the tenants who gave them access. The tenants most likely have access from their apartment (if that access area was a utility closet whose door is in the communal hallway, the landlord would keep it locked and not give the tenants keys). Probably the only access to the "peep holes" is from the tenants locked apartment.

All of this does not add up to likely peep holes. More probable is internet or television cables (maybe even illegal hook ups. A tenant went into the access area and hacked into another tenants cables). Also possible that the current tenants want to get out of their lease. A lot of students who have Sept to Sept leases try to get out of paying for college summer vacation if they won't be living in Boston.

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Voting closed 23

Alpha is pure preying-on-college-student slime. You don't like it, there will be a dumb/desperate out-of-towner who will gladly pay too much to take your spot next September.

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This is my complete lack of surprise at this happening at one of Anwar Faisal's properties...

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What do you think "happened" exactly?

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There are tons of tenant lawyers in MA, and MA has strong tenant protection law, the treble damages kind.

Here's to hoping those Northeastern kids and a lawyer have great times together!

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In your opinion, what has the landlord done wrong that would merit a lawsuit?

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Retaliation: Per the article,there is an ongoing police investigation. Once an investigation has been opened, or a complaint made, any eviction proceeding could be construed as retaliatory.

"Peeping": Allegedly the holes were used for spying on the tenant. If the landlord was the one responsible, then it would be a criminal act.

Negligence: If the landlord failed to act reasonably in screening a tenant or employee who drilled the holes for an illegal purpose, the landlord could be liable

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Voting closed 22

How does one screen for this? Should landlords be allowed to run CORI checks on tenants? If the perv has never been caught before, how would one screen them out?

As for the retaliation, I believe the retaliation is for withholding rent. I'm not even going to touch the accusation you put forth that the landlord is doing the peeping.

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Retaliation: Per the article,there is an ongoing police investigation. Once an investigation has been opened, or a complaint made, any eviction proceeding could be construed as retaliatory.

That would only apply if the complaint were made against the landlord. For example: my place is burglarized. I ask the landlord to repair the kicked-in door. He does so. Meanwhile, the police are investigating to see if they can figure out who broke in. I withhold rent from my landlord. The landlord starts eviction proceedings. The fact that "there is an ongoing investigation" in no way relieves me of the obligation to pay rent.

"'Peeping': Allegedly the holes were used for spying on the tenant. If the landlord was the one responsible, then it would be a criminal act."

Has anyone claimed that the landlord was responsible?

Negligence: If the landlord failed to act reasonably in screening a tenant or employee who drilled the holes for an illegal purpose, the landlord could be liable

Is there a provision in the lease, or in case law, or in statute, that allows withholding of rent while such a claim is pending?

I see nobody making the claim that the landlord was responsible. What justifies the non-payment of rent?

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Voting closed 6

Clearly the tenants allege that the landlord is responsible. Can they prove it? That's for the judge to decide. As long as the rent is put in escrow they won't be penalized for with holding it. The housing court can order the rent to be paid or not.

So one of the problems with this story is that if the landlord inspected this property as required then why didn't he find the holes? The landlord is the only other party with access to the apartment, supposedly. It is more far fetched to accuse another tenant. This article doesn't say where those holes went, seems like an important part of the story. If it was an employee, then Alpha is responsible.

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Voting closed 27

people who drill peepholes, are the creepiest people in the world. (sorry Babs)

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What do they expect to accomplish by withholding rent? They should be evicted. The holes were found, they were fixed. The big question that is not addressed here is who drilled the holes and who controls the space on the other side of them.

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The lessons is don't withhold rent unless you're well versed in the actual laws governing rental contracts in MA or are moving out anyway. That's independent of the creepiness of peepholes, etc.

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What is on the other side of these holes? Is someone hiding in the wall?

They look like they could be covered up with a piece of tape or a fingerful of spackle. How does this warrant not paying rent "pending a police investigation" that we will likely never hear of again?

They just happened to notice these when school let out for the year. How convenient.

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Voting closed 4

...look at the pics. Second one is, if the pic is oriented correctly, close to floor level with some possible gypsum dust on the floor. Cannot judge from that how old it is.

But...what is on the other side of the wall? If it's a 2x4 wall with wallboard on both sides, it isn't a peephole...it's a cable hole.

First one, well, how do you see through closet doors?

Not enough info for us to form an informed decision.

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Voting closed 27

1 - you are not a woman. Most of dressing happens in front of closets while we pull out numerous items and try them on.

2 - you haven't spent much time in Boston apartments. Half of them don't have closets and the half that do don't have doors.

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Voting closed 19