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June 19, 2024 Clouds | 77°F
The 193rd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 11E: Shutting off water to non-customer occupants in residential buildings; notice; procedures; payment of amount due; effect of waiver; reprisals; penalties; rules and regulations

Section 11E. No water company shall shut off the flow of water to any residential building in which the occupant thereof is not the customer of record of said company, without first complying with the notice provisions of section eleven A and also providing notice to each affected dwelling unit in a manner prescribed by regulation of the department. Such notice shall contain the following information:

(a) the amount then due and payable for such water service;

(b) the date on or after which such service will be shut off, such date to be not less than fifteen nor more than thirty days, as determined by the department, after the day on which such notice is first given;

(c) the date on which said notice is given; and

(d) the right of the occupants of such building to pay the amount due or such portion thereof as is prescribed by regulation of the department and thereby avoid a cessation of service, and to recover the amounts so paid from the person to whom they would otherwise pay their rent.

Any employee of such company as provided in section eleven D may, at any reasonable time, enter the common hallways of such building to post or deliver said notice. Any person who removes, interferes, or tampers with such notice of the provisions thereof shall be punished by a fine not to exceed twenty-five dollars.

At any time after the date such notice is given any occupant or occupants of the dwelling units within such building may pay such company the amount due or such portion thereof as is mutually agreed upon by the occupants and the company, provided that where no such agreement is reached, the department shall make a final determination of the amount of said portion, in order to avoid cessation of service. If such final determination by the department is not made prior to the date on which service otherwise would have been terminated, such service shall be continued for a period not to exceed fifteen days, during which time the department shall render said final determination. If such amount is received after service has been shut off, service shall be restored by the company as soon as practicable. Any such occupant who has paid all or any portion of said amount may subsequently recover the amount paid to the company, either by deducting said amount from any rent or payment on account of taxes or operating expenses then or thereafter due from such occupant to the person to whom he would otherwise pay his rent, or by obtaining reimbursement from the person to whom he last paid rent. The company shall, upon receiving any such payment, notify the person liable for service as stated in said notice of the amount or amounts paid by any occupant pursuant to the provisions of this section.

Any waiver of the provisions of this section in any lease or rental agreement shall be void and unenforceable. The provisions of section eighteen of chapter one hundred and eighty-six and section two A of chapter two hundred and thirty-nine shall apply to any reprisal against any occupant for exercising his rights pursuant to this section.

Any water company wilfully violating the provisions of this section shall be punished by a fine of not more than fifty dollars for each such violation.

The department shall establish from time to time such reasonable rules and regulations consistent with this section as may be necessary for its implementation.