Eviction Process in Massachusetts
Statutory reasons for evictions in Massachusetts include:
Nonpayment of rent. The landlord must send a 14 day notice to quit to begin the eviction process. The notice requirements are quite specific so verify that any notice you receive completely complies with the law. Service is generally done by a sheriff or constable
Hold over tenants. In this case the tenant has not created a lease violation and is paying rent. However, the landlord simply wants possession of the property and gives the tenant a 30 day notice to quit to get them to leave the unit. If you receive such a notice make sure that you got a full 30 days notice. Specifically, count the days and make sure you’ve got at least 30 days. Landlords often mess up where there are short months. Since the tenant has not violated the lease in any way the judges are more lenient in allowing tenants to move out
Just cause evictions. These are evictions due to bad behavior by the tenants who are violating the lease. Common reasons are drug use, illegal activity, noise, damage, and the like. These are the toughest to prove because the landlord must offer live testimony. Massachusetts has special procedures for expedited removal of tenants where illegal activity is going on. These are Section 19 of Chapter 138 procedures.
The eviction notice you receive from your landlord is controlled by your state landlord tenant laws rather than your residential lease agreement. This is also true for the eviction process. While your rental agreement form states when your lease begins and ends, it doesn’t usually contain information about eviction notice processes. Rental laws derive from the landlord tenant rules (state statutes) Eviction procedures vary widely around the country, just like eviction rules. All the names at the bottom of the page are various names for eviction notices or lease ending notices. However, they are used to accomplish different purposes. For this reason, it is crucial to examine the notice you get from your landlord carefully. Ask yourself “What is it that the landlord is trying to accomplish with this notice? What is it that I am supposed to do?”
Eviction Process in Massachusetts
Once the notice period has ended and the tenant is still in possession, the landlord files an eviction complaint and the tenant is served with the summons and complaint. If the tenant does not file an answer, the landlord gets a default judgment. If the tenant does file an answer, the parties may engage in discovery, which is research into each other’s claims. Before any court hearing, the landlord and tenant have an opportunity to negotiate a settlement. If they refuse to discuss a settlement or if no settlement is reached, the landlord and tenant each present their case before the judge.
The landlord gets an opportunity to present their side of the case and the tenant gets an opportunity to dispute their facts. The tenant gets an opportunity to present their side of the case and any counterclaims while the landlord gets the opportunity to rebut the tenant information. Each side should bring all important documents to the trial. These would include the lease, notices, rent payments, pictures, written communications, and any paperwork and witnesses necessary to corroborate the information the landlord or tenant is giving.
The judge dismisses the case if the tenant wins, or enters an order of eviction if the landlord wins. Each party has up to 10 days after the judge’s decision to appeal. If the landlord has won and the court enters an order of eviction, the landlord gets execution from the court 11 days after the order of eviction. The sheriff serves the execution on the tenant. The tenant can be moved out of the property within 48 hours after the tenant receives the execution.
Most states require that evictions occur for only a few reasons that are defined in the state’s Landlord-Tenant statutes. You can download the statutes for your state from this website. The book “How to Stop an Eviction” has chapters on contents of notices and types of notices. If the notice you receive does not contain the correct information, you can get your eviction action cancelled. To obtain those chapters go here.
How the notice is served on you is very important. States have different notice requirements, defined by the state statutes. You can download your state statutes from this website. If the notice was given to you improperly, you can get your eviction action cancelled. The book “How to Stop an Eviction” has a chapter on serving the notice so you can see if you were served properly. To obtain the chapter, go here.
After the notice period, the landlord summons the tenant to court. The summons must meet state standards for content and timing. The state standards can be downloaded from this website. The book “How to Stop an Eviction” has a chapter on contents of the summons so you can verify that the summons contained the correct information. If it does not, you may be able to get the eviction dismissed. To get access to that information, go here.
How the summons is served is important in the tenant’s defense. Many states require that the summons notice be served by someone other than the landlord. The service is often done improperly. In the book “How to Stop an Eviction” there is a section on contesting service of the summons. To get that information, go here.
It is also important that the tenant respond properly to the summons with the correct information to use at trial. There is an extensive chapter in the book “How to Stop an Eviction” showing the tenant how and where to research to determine problems with the landlord’s position. The response to the summons is where that research is entered. The chapter contains over 200 defenses to the eviction. To get access to the information, go here.
In the book “How to Stop an Eviction” there are two chapters relating to the trial. One chapter focusses on preparing for the trial, organizing the information and preparing it to be summarized and presented quickly. The other chapter is on trial strategy. Knowing what information to bring up and when is crucial to the tenant winning. To get access to that information, go here.
If the tenant loses at trial, there are still an additional 9 ways to either win or stall the eviction, sometimes for months. To get access to that information, go here.
Other Useful Information Below
1) Types of tenancies
The notices that you get from your landlord are based on the type of tenant you are. The landlord is required to know what type of tenant you are and to give you the proper notice. If they give you the wrong type of notice, you can often get your eviction action dismissed. To figure out which type of tenant you are, click on this type of tenancy for a quick analysis.
2) Bad mistakes that landlords make that can get them sued.
Click on the links below to see a quick summary of the problem
Health and safety Violations
Violations of Quiet Enjoyment
Unfair or Deceptive Trade Practices
3) Getting the laws of your state
This summary information is provided with the understanding that it is subject to errors, omissions and misstatements. State laws are updated frequently and the most up to the minute information is contained in your state’s statutes.
It is important that you obtain the laws of your state and completely review them. We have a link on this website for you to obtain your state’s laws. To get your state’s laws, go to the home page of this site, and look at the top menu for the state laws. Click on the dropdown menu and then click on your state. You will get a link where you can download your state’s laws.
See paragraph above for context of the notices below. The paragraph begins “The eviction Notice”.
Letter of Eviction Notice
3 Day Notice to Quit
Landlord 30 Day Notice
3 Day Eviction
30 Day Eviction
3 day Eviction Notice
3 Day Notice of Eviction
Tenant Notice to Vacate
Notice to Tenant to Vacate
End Tenancy Letter
30 day Notice of Eviction
Notice to Vacate letter
3 Day Notice to Vacate
Notice to Tenants
Letter of Eviction
30 Day Notice to Vacate
Lease termination letter
Notice to Evict letter
Notice to Vacate
Notice For Eviction
Notice to End Lease
For the eviction process in other states, click the link below