From Slum to Safe: Health in Rental Property

The Brookfield Board of Health is committed to ensuring safe and healthy living conditions for all residents. Unfortunately, some rental properties, often referred to as "slum" properties, are not maintained to the required standards, leading to health and safety risks for tenants.


Common Health and Code Violations:

  • Mold and Mildew: Can cause respiratory problems and exacerbate allergies and asthma.
  • Pest Infestations: Rodents and insects can spread diseases and cause unsanitary living conditions.
  • Lack of Proper Ventilation: Can lead to poor indoor air quality and increase the risk of respiratory illnesses.
  • Structural Hazards: Such as weak floors, leaky roofs, and broken windows, can pose physical risks to tenants.
  • Inadequate Heating or Plumbing: Can result in unsafe living conditions, especially during colder months.
  • Non-Functional Smoke Alarms: Can leave tenants vulnerable in the event of a fire. Landlords are required to install and maintain working smoke detectors in all rental units.

What You Can Do:

  • Report Violations: If you are living in a rental property with health or code violations, report them to the Brookfield Board of Health immediately.  Our health inspectors can be reached at 508-892-1163 (Leicester Regional Public Health) 
  • Document the Issues: Take photos and keep a record of all communication with your landlord regarding the violations.
  • Know Your Rights: Tenants have the right to safe and habitable living conditions. Familiarize yourself with local tenant rights and housing regulations.

Landlord Responsibilities: Landlords are required to maintain their properties in a safe and habitable condition. Failure to address health and code violations can result in fines, legal action, and other penalties.

Resources and Assistance:

  • Tenant Rights in Massachusetts: The State Sanitary Code ensures a safe and habitable living environment for tenants. Landlords must provide adequate water, heating, and maintain the structural elements of the dwelling. Tenants have the right to withhold rent if the dwelling is not in habitable condition and may make emergency repairs under certain conditions ( Tenant rights.

  • Attorney General's Guide to Landlord and Tenant Rights: Provides information on lease negotiations, rental agreement terms, payments at the start of tenancy, and the State Sanitary Code ( The Attorney General's Guide to Landlord and Tenant Rights.

  • Housing, Apartments & Shelter: MassLegalHelp offers resources on eviction, repairs, security deposits, housing discrimination, rent, tenants' rights, domestic violence & housing, public & subsidized housing, and more (MassLegalHelp) Housing, Apartments & Shelter.

  • Eviction Laws and Tenant Rights in Massachusetts: For tenants in Massachusetts facing eviction, the "Eviction for Tenants" page offers crucial guidance. It underscores that landlords must obtain a court order to legally evict tenants and that only authorized officials can physically remove tenants from their homes. The resource provides steps for responding to eviction notices, preparing for court, and accessing legal help. To learn more, visit Eviction for Tenants on

  • Worcester Housing Court: If you're facing unresolved issues with your rental property, consider taking legal action at the Worcester Housing Court. This court provides a venue for tenants to address grievances related to housing and health code violations. The services are free for low-income individuals. For more information, visit the Worcester Housing Court at 225 Main St., Worcester, MA 01608, or call (508) 831-2050

Contact Information: If you are experiencing health or code violations in your rental property, please contact the Leicester Regional Public Health Coalition.  Leicester is our health agent. 

  • Phone: 508-892-1163

Together, we can ensure that all residents of Brookfield have access to safe and healthy living conditions.