Summary Process and Evictions

Evicting a tenant in Massachusetts is difficult. However, a property owner may be left with no choice other than to begin such an action. Reasons for having to evict a tenant include nonpayment of rent, or other breaches of the lease agreement such as excessive noise or damage to the property.

If you are a landlord seeking to evict a tenant you should first consult with an experienced eviction lawyer. The eviction process is complicated and extremely detailed oriented, and you need to ensure that you are conducting the process correctly. Garrett D. Lee from Mitcheson & Lee LLP is a partner at a Boston law firm that represents landlord-tenant issues efficiently and at a cost-effective price. Attorney Lee has represented many Massachusetts landlords in eviction hearings and will help you understand and navigate this difficult process.

Steps in a Successful Eviction Notice to Quit

In Massachusetts, the first step in a residential eviction is to terminate the tenancy using a “Notice to Quit.” The landlord must serve this Notice to Quit on the tenant and must ensure that the tenant actually receives it. The Notice to Quit should explain the reason for the termination of tenancy, and the date when the tenancy will end. For non-payment of rent situations, the Notice to Quit must be served on the tenant 14 days prior to the landlord beginning a summary process action in court. Other reasons for eviction require the Notice to Quit to be served a different number of days prior to the commencement of the summary process lawsuit in court. You should consult with an attorney to review your landlord-tenant dispute to determine the proper requirements for a Notice to Quit.

Commencement of Summary Process Action

If the notice period specified in the Notice to Quit has ended and the tenant has not moved out (or has not paid the money owed), the landlord may begin a summary process action in court. This requires the landlord to first serve the tenant with a summary process summons and complaint, and then file the summary process summons and complaint in court. The court will then schedule a trial where the landlord must prove that the tenancy was terminated properly pursuant to the law.

Tenants will have the right to assert counterclaims and defenses against the landlord, which could result in the tenant receiving more time at the subject premises, or even a monetary judgment against the landlord. It is thus important to seek representation by attorneys experienced with eviction actions.

If successful at trial, the court will issue an “Execution of Possession” and may also award monetary damages for owed rent and costs of filing the action. The Execution of Possession, when given to a sheriff by the landlord, legally allows the sheriff to physically remove the tenant and the tenants’ possessions from the apartment.

Consult an Eviction Attorney

Landlords who attempt to represent themselves in a summary process eviction action frequently fail due a technical error in the filing and service of documents. Thus, it is important to consult with an experienced eviction attorney who can ensure that the steps taken are in compliance with the law. Your attorney can also provide advice as to the most efficient way to resolve a dispute, such as settlement or mediation.

Mitcheson & Lee LLP frequently represents the rights of landlords and tenants in Massachusetts. Contact Mithceson & Lee LLP regarding your evictions actions by calling 617-933-3880.

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