Legal Resources for Tenants and Landlords
Information on the law:
This site is a great all-around site for tenants to educate themselves about laws that regulate the landlord-tenant relationship and eviction process. It contains a number of self-help forms and packets. Although geared towards tenants, landlords can also learn a lot from this site.
The Massachusetts Trial Court maintains a virtual self-help center which has explanations of the eviction process and security deposit law.
There is free public law library located in the Hampshire County Building (entrance is under the grand stairway facing Main Street) where you can get help looking up laws and obtain general information on landlord tenant law. The law libraries also have a website where a lot of this research can be done from home. This website also has an Ask a Librarian chat feature.
Where tenants can find a lawyer:
This site helps low-income persons and seniors locate programs (such as legal-aid organizations) and other resources for over 600 distinct legal issues including a wide range of housing-related issues.
This website for Community Legal Aid is the primary provider for legal services to low-income tenants and seniors in western Mass. Information on how to apply for legal help can be found on the website including a simple on-line application for legal help.
Where landlords can find a lawyer:
The Hampshire and Hampden County bar associations both operate lawyer referral services. Residents of Hampshire County should view both sites as Hampden offers a reduced fee panel and is a regional organization.
Drop-in legal services:
Hampden County Bar Association, located in Hampden County Courthouse, 50 State Street, runs a drop-in lawyer for the day program every Monday from 10 am to 1 pm. It is primarily geared towards helping landlords. There are no geographic or income restrictions to access this help.
Court Service Centers. The Hampden County Courthouse and Franklin County Courthouse have recently opened court service centers in their buildings. This is a free public service where person can get help completing court forms. The staff at the court service centers cannot give legal advice. Hampshire County Courthouse does have an equivalent service at this time.
This is website is part of a national initiative sponsored by the American Bar Association to help low income persons get access to lawyers. Low-income individuals can ask questions through a secure website and get answers from licensed Massachusetts lawyers on a wide range of civil legal topics including landlord tenant law. Users are asked to declare that their household incomes are below 250% of federal poverty guidelines.