More than 40 apartments were completely destroyed by fire, smoke and water in Marlborough on Monday, and other neighboring buildings had to be evacuated due to smoke damage. All told, more than 60 condos were empty Monday evening due to the damage.
The Red Cross has set up at the Marlborough Senior Center to help those that have been displaced, but all renters should be aware of their rights after such a devastating event.
Those who owned their units inside the Lake Williams Condominiums should be protected by their homeowners insurance, but what happens if you were a renter?
"Every policy which insures multi-unit residential property against loss or damage by fire shall provide additional benefits, by endorsement attached to the policy, up to a limit of seven hundred and fifty dollars, without deductible for each rental unit to cover the the actual costs of relocation of any tenant or lawful occupant displace by fire or by damage resulting from fire," says Chapter 175, Section 99, Clause 15 of the General Laws of Massachusetts.
The law goes on to say that the "costs of relocation" shall include, but are not limited to: "a hotel room rental, a security deposit and first month's rent for a new rental unit if the security deposit or last month's rent is not already due and owing from the landlord to the tenant, clothing replacement, furniture replacement and other reasonable costs and living expenses as a result of being displaced or damaged by fire."
The law notes that it is unlawful for a landlord to create a waiver of this provision, and such a waiver is void and unenforceable.
Displaced residents should speak with the Red Cross, or representatives of another aid organization, to help them understand the benefits they are entitled to receive in the event of a catastrophic fire.
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