What is an eviction: As a social worker, I have seen the eviction process many times from a tenants perspective, and it is not fun depending on who you are dealing with. An eviction isn’t only removing a tenant from a residence and in Massachusetts it is illegal for a landlord to remove a property’s occupants and belongings without a court order. There are proper steps you need to take before getting there.
Starting the process:
If there is a breach to the rental agreement, which may include non-payment of rent or damage to the property, a landlord’s first step should be to communicate the issue to the tenant. There could be a misunderstanding of lease agreement and a simple conversation could be a big help. To begin the eviction process the landlord must draft and present an Initial 14- day notice to quit to the tenant. Notices to quit can be presented for non payment of rent or other damages to the property.
The notices are given in multiple ways depending on the type of agreement you have with your tenant. There is tenant-at-will and your standard lease.
- Tenant at will, can be either written or orally given the notice to quit and requires a minimum 30 day notice before the rentals termination date.
- Tenant under lease, requires for the landlord to review the lease and find infractions if any that qualify the tenant for eviction along with the duration of time of the notice.
Once the tenant has been notified the landlord must go into court to begin the summary process, where terms are discussed between parties. As previously stated it is best to resolve claims outside of court as eviction disputes can be both timely and costly.
Purchasing and completing a summary process summons: Important dates and fees
As a tenant your first knowledge of an eviction may come as a conversation or getting your notice to quit from your landlord. Then is the time to act for the sake of your housing record. The first option, if applicable is to cure any debt owed between you and your landlord
- Tenant at will – Cure by paying debt owed within 10 days of the notice to quit
- Tenant under lease: Paying debt with interest and cost
If not cured you will be served with a summary process and complaint summons, by your landlord and enforced by a sheriff or constable. When receiving a summons you are given a chance to answer with counter claims, bringing any evidence to benefit your counter claims. There is minimal legal support on both sides, so be sure to prepare these items before appearing in court.
- proof of rent payment or non payment
- other important documents or witnesses
Once the court summons process is complete and if the tenant is found to have breached the lease agreement, the next phase is called the execution, where a tenant may be escorted safely from the premises.
For any further information explore; www.mass.gov/topics/eviction