Worcester Wed 12/11: Why Your Buildings Haven’t Met Fire Code for 30 Years, How to Read MassCourts.org

View Calendar
12/11/2019 5:30 PM - 12/11/2019 9:00 PM

Part I: Why Your Buildings Haven't Met Fire Code for 30 Years

Some of us may be familiar with the term existing non-conforming, but as it turns out, fire code makes few or no exceptions. Experienced landlords with first-rate buildings are now being cited for fire code violations that were unenforced for decades. Now they're being enforced. This presentation may amount to advance warning.

It's extremely important to understand smoke detector regulations, when heat detectors are required, and whether you need emergency pulls. We should all be familiar with sprinkler requirements for new construction, but what if a fire department demands you retrofit immediately? Can they do that? Will your existing building be paid out if there were a fire and resulting insurance claim? Note that the code gets very building-specific. This presentation will give you an indication of where you need to investigate for yourself, but we usually cannot give advice specific to individual buildings.

This part of the presentation will be given by Jennifer Hoyt, Chief Fire Protection Engineer with the State Fire Marshall's Office since 2014. The State Fire Marshall can evaluate your building on-site. They can compare what your local fire department is requiring against the code to give an expert (and definitive) opinion. This is a connection you need to have.

Part II: Member Choice: How to Read MassCourts.org

MassCourts.org is the public record of summary process (aka eviction) and small claims lawsuits in Massachusetts. Landlords can and should use this information to help score rental applications, screen tenants, and ensure that every resident of their community will thrive. It's no good for anyone if the previous for-cause eviction is about to be repeated on your property.

Remember that just because someone appears in the court records doesn't mean they're going to be a bad renter for your apartment. Court records can exonerate a renter who doesn't have a landlord reference, particularly if their last landlord was a slumlord. It's easy to see once you know what you're looking at.

Attendees will review MassCourts.org docket information, summary process terminology, and dispositions. You will learn how to tell who owed whom, whether the case was dismissed, and most importantly, how to verify that the person applying for your apartment is the person listed in the records. Finally we'll point out where the court records are lacking helpful or critical information, and discuss where to go to learn more.

We will also review some proposed laws that would obfuscate or eliminate this housing-relevant dataset, and the reasons why landlords need to use this data carefully or have it pulled away.

This part of the presentation will be given by Attorney Carl Lindley of Farber and Lindley.

fire pull
Fire Code represents Significant Risk for Many Owners
attorney carl lindley
Attorney Carl Lindley on fair and proper use of MassCourts.org

Have you seen our Leave Stuff, Take Stuff Table?

Market your business, pick up handouts, give away an old doorknob. Everything goes on our first-come, first-served display table at all our events. Please bring business cards, brochures, coupons. And feel free to pick up your own uncollected marketing materials at the end. Everything not claimed end-of-event may be chucked.

"No Sales Pitch" Guarantee

MassLandlords offers attendees of directly managed events a "No Sales Pitch" guarantee. If a guest speaker offers services, their presentation will not discuss pricing, promotions, or reasons why you should hire them. We do not permit speakers to pay for or sponsor events. Guest speakers are chosen for their expertise and willingness to present helpful educational content. Your purchase of an event ticket sustains our nonprofit model.


Wednesday, December 11th

Meeting Agenda

  • 5:30pm Sign-in/Networking
    • Networking draws from Worcester, Shrewsbury, Millbury, Auburn, Leicester, Paxton, Holden, West Boylston, Boylston, Grafton, Upton, Northbridge, Sutton, Oxford, Charlton, Spencer, Oakham, Rutland, Princeton, Clinton, and Sterling.
  • 6:15pm Buffet Dinner by The Vintage Grille
  • 6:40pm MassLandlords Business Update and Member Minutes
    • Member Minutes - Any member can have the mic for 60 seconds (introduce yourself, ask a question, share words of wisdom, etc.)
  • 7:00pm Rich Merlino Meeting Introduction
  • 7:05pm Why Your Buildings Haven't Met Fire Code for 30 Years
  • 7:45pm Member Choice: How to Read MassCourts.org
  • 9:00pm Doors close


Fiddler's Green
19 Temple St
Worcester, MA 01604


Park in the lot along and behind the restaurant, on the street, or in the church lot across the street.


  • Cheese and crackers, sodas, water, coffee, decaf
  • Hot buffet dinner, incl. salad, rolls
  • Cookies, brownies, and/or blondies

*Dietary restrictions: purchase an early-bird ticket and email hello@masslandlords.net, we will accommodate you.


Open to the public. Membership is not required!

  • Door:
    • Public: $24
    • Members: $19
  • Early-bird, reserve seven days prior by 12pm:
    • Public: $22
    • Members: $14
  • Premium Members: No charge and no need to register

Extra Credit

  • First time attendees: Join as a member before leaving the event, your public ticket will be credited toward membership.
  • Members: Bring a first-time attendee who joins at the event, your membership will be extended by one month free. No limit.


This event is operated by MassLandlords staff. Check in with your MassLandlords ID card.

Want to speak at a MassLandlords meeting? Submit a speaker request.

This is part of the Worcester rental real estate networking and training series.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *