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The following information should not be taken as legal advice. I cannot provide advice on housing matters, eviction services, immigration, or other legal matters. Please seek out a qualified attorney for advice.
The following information was taken from various publicly available websites.
What is an eviction? An eviction is the process of obtaining a court order to remove a tenant and other occupants from a rental property.
Who can evict? The landlord or owner can evict someone from his or her property after receiving a court order. Only the Constable or Sheriff's deputy can remove them.
Who can be evicted? The tenant, who is renting the property from the landlord, and any other occupants can be evicted.
In Massachusetts, it is illegal for a landlord, on his or her own, to remove tenants and occupants and their belongings from a rented apartment, room, or home without first getting a court order. The court case that a landlord files to get a court order is called a summary process (the legal process for an eviction). The court order that allows a landlord to evict a tenant is called an execution. Even after a landlord gets an execution, only a sheriff or constable can move a tenant and his or her belongings out of the property.
Contact us today for more information on eviction services.
Cartoon of man sitting on the curb with eviction signs on the door.
1. Non-Payment of Rent - One of the most common reasons for starting an eviction is non-payment of rent. Whether the tenant has a written lease or is a tenant-at-will the landlord must send the tenant a 14-day “notice to quit” before starting the eviction process.
2. For Cause - “For cause” evictions encompass a wide range of injurious behavior by tenants in violation of lease provisions or the law. It could be illegal activity, drug use, excessive noise, uncleanliness, harassment of other residents, non-approved “roommates” and the like.
3. No Fault - A no-fault eviction is conducted in the situation where the landlord wished to have the tenant vacate, although the tenant has not done anything to violate the lease or living agreement.
4. Nuisance -In Massachusetts, a law enacted over 150 years ago, commonly referred to as a nuisance law, gave landlords the right to terminate a tenancy with no notice to the tenant if an apartment was used for prostitution, illegal gambling, or the illegal keeping or sale of alcoholic beverages. This meant that a landlord could skip the notice to quit step in the eviction process and could proceed straight to court to get permission to take possession of an apartment. In 1985, the legislature amended the law to include the possession, sale, or manufacturing of illegal drugs.
Cartoon of a man putting an eviction notice on a tenant's door
The first step in the eviction process is to terminate (end) the tenancy.
You must determine what type of landlord-tenant relationship or “tenancy” you have with your tenant. There are two main types of tenancies: a tenancy-at-will and a tenancy under a lease.
Tenancy at will. A tenancy-at-will can be either oral or written. Either the landlord or the tenant can terminate a month-to-month tenancy-at-will by giving a written thirty (30) days (minimum) notice to quit that must expire at the end of a rental period. Special attention must be paid to February, which has less than 30 days. Therefore, if the notice to quit is served too late in January, it cannot operate to terminate the tenancy as of March 1.
Tenancy under a lease. If there is an unexpired lease, you must examine the lease to determine the permissible grounds for termination, the notice requirements, and the required length of time for the notice. If a lease expires, no further notice to quit is needed because the lease itself contains a term that tells the tenant when the tenancy ends. If the tenancy converts to a tenancy-at-will after the expiration of the lease, however, it must be terminated by giving a written notice to quit.
To terminate either type of tenancy for non-payment of rent, a written fourteen (14) days' notice to quit is required, unless the lease provides otherwise.
Image of a character holding a sign with Eviction notice written on it
The purpose of the notice to quit is to terminate the tenancy, so the tenant must receive the notice to quit for it to be effective. There are generally 3 types of Notice to Quits - 7 Day, 14 Day, and 30 Day. Section 8 requires a 60-day Notice to Quit in some cases.
After purchasing and filling out this form, you will hire a constable to serve it on the tenant. Once the constable serves the summons and complaint, you must then file it with the court and pay the filing fee. This brings the tenant to court.
The execution is the document that authorizes the actual eviction. The landlord cannot evict the tenant without the assistance of a constable or sheriff, who must give forty-eight (48) hours written notice to the tenant before the actual eviction can take place.
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SOUTHERN WORCESTER COUNTY LANDLORDS' ASSOCIATION
Landlords Helping Landlords since 1979
A great local organization and a part of the larger Mass LandLords network.
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RENTAL HOUSING ASSOCIATION OF GREATER SPRINGFIELD
The Rental Housing Association of Greater Springfield (RHAGS, pronounced “rags”) operates in Springfield and surrounding municipalities. A part of Mass Landlords network.
SPRINGFIELD AREA HOUSING ASSOCIATION
over the many years as an association, has grown to encompass a vast network of members, the majority of whose experience ranges from ten to over thirty years in the multi-family industry, as well as those just emerging onto the scene who know "the wheel has already been invented."
SMALL PROPERTY OWNERS' ASSOCIATION
Who are “small property owners”? We are small landlords, “mom and pop” landlords, who do our own management and repairs without offices and hired personnel. We are the families who own and operate 75% of America’s rental housing.
RENTAL HOUSING ASSOCIATION OF BERKSHIRE COUNTY
A group of landlords and associates from around the county. The number of units a landlord owns is not a factor in the association. Typically, they own anywhere from 1 to 100 apartments. The organization is run by member volunteers who donate their time to support your rights.