Home John F. Daley v. Michael J. Putnam


February 11, 2020

Housing Court, Southeast Division

Joseph L. Michaud, Associate Justice


This is a summary process action brought to recover possession of the subject rental premises via a 90 day Notice to Quit. The Defendant did not file an answer and upon appearing initially on January 8, 2020 raised several issues concerning defenses and counterclaims. The Court stopped the trial and provided the Defendant with the opportunity to secure counsel. On February 5, 2020 the parties appeared again for trial. The Defendant had failed to secure counsel so the matter proceeded to trial. The Plaintiff, represented by counsel, appeared and testified on his behalf. Based on the credible testimony and evidence presented at trial and the reasonable inferences to be drawn therefrom the following findings, rulings and orders are to enter: 1. Plaintiff/Landlord is the owner of the subject rental property located at 183 Barnstable Road, Hyannis, Massachusetts where Defendant/Tenant resides. ("Premises"); (Plaintiffs exhibit 1)

2. The parties entered into a residential agreement on or about September 21, 2017;

3. The parties agreed that the monthly rental amount was $1200.00 due on the 1st of the month. (Defendants exhibit 1)

4. Rent had not been paid since October of 2017 bringing the total past due and payable to $34,800.00.

5. On August 30, 2019 the Plaintiff served and the Defendant received a 90 day notice to quit. (Plaintiffs exhibit 2);

6. On December 2, 2019 a Summary Process Summons and Complaint was served by Plaintiff upon the Defendant (Plaintiffs exhibit 3);

7. The Court finds both documents to be legally sufficient for the purposes intended;

Plaintiff testified through counsel that he was the owner of the premises. There apparently was an initial agreement between the parties in which the Defendant was to purchase the premises upon certain terms and conditions. That agreement has now expired and the sale has not been completed. Plaintiff is seeking possession of the premises and damages for unpaid rent. Defendant has claimed that the Plaintiff breached the agreement causing him to default on the purchase of the Premises. What is before this court is simply a determination of who has the superior right to possession and any damages flowing from that particular aspect. The documentation submitted by the Defendant is accepted by the Court for the sole purpose of determining the agreed rental amount between the parties. The Court makes no finding concerning the rights and obligations under the referenced purchase agreement and either party is free to pursue those rights if they wish to do so and shall not be estopped by the decision of this Court.

In the present case, the Plaintiff has presented a prima facie case for possession. He has shown that he is the legal owner of the premises (PlaintiffÂ’s exhibit 1) and that the Defendant has breached the terms of the agreement to pay certain sums in exchange for possession of the premises. Plaintiff stated that he agreed to sell the premises to the Defendant provided that the Defendant secured financing within a certain period of time. Plaintiff stated that the Defendant failed to secure the financing necessary and the agreement expired. Plaintiff further stated that the Defendant has failed to pay rent and continues to occupy the Premises after being ordered to vacate. Defendant presented no credible testimony or evidence to contest PlaintiffÂ’s case for possession under the rental agreement. I find the testimony and evidence submitted by the Plaintiff to be credible and further find that the Plaintiff has the superior right to possess the premises.

With respect to damages, the parties disagree as to the monthly amount of rent due. Plaintiff claims that the parties agreed that the monthly rent would be $2500.00. Plaintiff offered no writing or receipts confirming this amount. Defendant testified that the parties had agreed upon the sum of $1200.00 as rent and provided a writing in support of this contention. (Defendants exhibit 1) Defendant also stated that he had paid the rent when due and that he owed the Plaintiff nothing. He presented no receipts or cancelled checks to buttress this testimony. I find the testimony and evidence presented by the Defendant as to the monthly rental amount to be more credible that that of the Plaintiff. I do not find the testimony of the Defendant concerning his payments to be credible.

Based upon the credible evidence and testimony provided by the parties I find that the rent for the Premises is $1200.00 per month. I find that Defendant has not paid the agreed upon sum of rent since October 1, 2017 through February 1, 2020, totaling $34,800.00.

Order and Entry of Judgment. For the above-stated reasons

1. Possession of the subject rental premises, and damages in the amount of $34,800.00 plus costs related to the prosecution of this matter for the Plaintiff;

2. Execution for possession to issue 10 days from the entry of judgment.