SECTION 1. Notwithstanding any law or special law to the contrary Chapter 239 General Laws, Section 2 shall be amended by adding the following paragraph at the end thereof:
Any tenant of residential property asserting in an answer to a complaint for eviction that the conditions of the premises are reason said tenant should not be evicted or should not pay the rent shall do so by verified answer or counterclaim. The tenant shall deposit with the court at the time said answer or counterclaim containing such allegation is filed with the court the amount of the rent alleged in the complaint or proof that the amount of the rent due has been escrowed in a segregated account in a Massachusetts bank in the name of both the tenant and the landlord or shall file a bond for the amount of the rent. Deposit of the rent with the court shall be waived by the clerk at filing if the tenant files with said answer or counterclaim, an affidavit that includes details regarding notices to the landlord concerning the conditions of the premises, complaints to the local health department, copies of any correspondence to and from the landlord and local health department. If said affidavit fails to provide such detail it shall be rejected by the clerk and the deposit of rent as described above shall be required. If the tenant fails to provide such affidavit or deposit at the time of filing said answer or counterclaim, any part of the answer or counterclaim relating to the conditions of the premises shall be dismissed.
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