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Housing Court imposes ‘use and occupancy' fees on alleged trespasser

After a two-day trial, a Massachusetts Housing Court judge imposed monthly use and occupancy fees of $22,000 on an alleged trespasser who continues to live in a home owned by her former boyfriend after changing the locks to bar access to the property owner.

Howard Cooper, Maria Davis, and Matt Furman are representing the property owner in the summary process eviction case.

The judge rejected the defendant’s argument that use and occupancy fees only apply to circumstances such as landlord-tenant (post-termination of lease) or mortgagor-borrower (post-foreclosure).  The judge also found the trespasser’s claim to have entered into an oral partnership regarding ownership of the property to be without merit and the trespasser lacking in credibility.

Use and occupancy fees are not linked to specific agreements requiring monthly payments, the judge determined, and are instead intended to protect a property owner during potentially lengthy legal proceedings.  He ordered the use and occupancy payments – which are based on a fair market rental value of the property – to continue until the eviction proceeding is resolved.

The alleged trespasser remained in the home following the breakup of a romantic relationship with the property owner about a year ago.  The former couple lived together in the home for several years prior to their breakup.  Following the court's decision, the trespasser vacated the property.