Facing A Landlord-Tenant Issue in Massachusetts?

In the state of Massachusetts, a dispute with your tenant does not allow you to outright remove them from your property.  Attempting to remove a tenant from your property without having gone through the legal recourse available to you is illegal.

Massachusetts is considered tenant-friendly.  There is a protocol with rules and regulations that must be adhered to that relates to the manner in which you can evict a tenant.  Quite often in Massachusetts, the eviction process is initiated over non-payment of rent.

Rules And Regulations

If you are a landlord, you may already know that there are rules and regulations that you must abide by when renting. The same is true when you need to initiate an eviction of a tenant. Whether a tenant has stopped paying rent or whether they are no longer adhering to the rental agreement rules and guidelines that you originally set forth in your lease, you must now go through the process of eviction with the court.

Non-Payment Of Rent

In order to remove a tenant for non-payment of rent, you must first present the tenant with a 14-day notice after the due date has passed. By Massachusetts law, you must provide the tenant with the ability to cure (pay what they owe) within a 14-day timeline. In the notice, you must include who they can pay and how as well as give them the option to either pay or move out of the premises at the conclusion of the 14 days. If the tenant does not pay the rent within that window or leave the property, you can then initiate an eviction with the court. You will file a Summons and Complaint in order to begin your eviction process with the court which allows the tenant the opportunity to buy themselves time. A copy of the complaint will be sent to your tenant allowing them to file an answer or pay what they owe in addition to any court costs, fees, and interest due. If the tenant covers these costs along with the rent, the eviction will not proceed.

Violation Of Your Lease Agreement

The same process as non-payment does not apply to violations of a lease agreement. If a tenant is in violation you are not required to provide them with a 14-day notice. Instead, you will provide what is referred to in Massachusetts as a Notice To Quit prior to initiating an eviction with the court. The dates relevant for the tenant to leave the premises for violating the lease are not derived from the court or any Massachusetts law, they are governed by your lease agreement.  You will need to secure the dates on which the tenant must vacate the property from your own lease.  The general rule of thumb is seven days to quit. It is vital that you stay within proper legal guidelines and therefore is always best to consult with an attorney experienced in Landlord and Tenant laws.

Summons And Complaint

As with the non-payment of rent, after your notice has been presented to the tenant you will file your complaint with your local district court. The court provides a copy to the tenant with the pertinent dates as well as a date in which the tenant can attend a hearing and file their answer. In many cases the tenant will vacate the premises, in other cases, they will fight the eviction by attending the hearing and filing their own answer to challenge the eviction.  This is not a payment case so therefore, it is important that you not collect rent after initiating this process as you are essentially telling the tenant and the court that you do not want payment from the tenant, you want them to vacate for lease violations.  If in fact, the tenant does challenge the eviction, the court will make a final decision on the case.

Get Experienced Boston Landlord and Tenant Legal Assistance

There are any number of self-help guides on the internet for evicting a tenant on your own however, Landlord and Tenant cases can become complex, corrosive, and stressful. It is best to consult with an attorney who can be your liaison through the process so as not to necessarily burden yourself with the stress of dealing with tenants.  Let our team assist you, call to learn more about how we can help you.