Boston Students Win Case Against Former Landlord

A group of six Boston students won a court battle against a Brookline landlord in a closed session of Boston Small Claims Court yesterday afternoon.

The students-led by John H. Weiss, research assistant for the Program on Technology and Society and resident tutor of Quincy House-brought a complaint against Joseph Hunter Realty Trust, who has persistently refused to pay the plaintiffs the amount already awarded them by the Court of Small Claims.

Hunter has been prosecuted in ten small claims cases since April 1970 for refusing to pay security deposits amounting to $2231.60 which should have been returned to his former tenants at the termination of the lease.

The landlord's attorney Allen Ponn yesterday promised the plaintiffs they would receive the amount by Friday, March 5. The plaintiffs are Northeastern University and Boston University students.

Robert Cowden, the plaintiffs' attorney and graduate of Harvard Law School said he doubts that Hunter will pay. "His record in the past is not too reassuring," Cowden said.

If Hunter fails to pay, he could go to prison.

Hunter refused to pay Weiss's claim and will file a motion this Wednesday for the court to suspend its judgment on the Weiss case. The court had decided last January that Hunter owed Weiss $301.76.

This case is only "part of a larger pattern of flaunting the judgments of that Court by numerous landlords over the past several years," Weiss said, adding, "This evasion of the Small Claims Court is common practice among landlords in Cambridge, too."

"It's about time students started fighting these landlords," he said.