Next week, I’ll be a panelist on a webinar for the Massachusetts Bar Association concerning evictions after coronarvirus. This is a topic that promises to be extremely relevant once the pandemic ends.
What do landlords need to know about evictions after coronavirus?
New Requirements for Notices to Quit
As I have written before, the federal CARES Act has new requirements for notices to quit for non-payment of rent. This applies to only certain categories of landlords, but the reach of this law is large. Landlords need to check whether this law applies to them, and err on the side of caution if there is any question that it does.
Inevitable Delays With Court Proceedings
No doubt, evictions after coronarvius will take much longer to resolve than before. An eviction case in Massachusetts (referred to as a “summary process” action) is intended to be “just, speedy, and inexpensive.” The growing backlog of cases, unfortunately, will put a strain on the court’s resources. Landlords will need to keep this in mind when deciding to pursue an eviction.
Flexibility With Stays of Execution
When evictions after coronavirus resume, it is inevitable that many tenants will request stays of execution. A stay of execution is a request for a court to delay the time by which the landlord can assume possession of the rental property.
Although the law is written only for no-fault evictions, most judges take the position that a stay is permitted in any eviction, under the right circumstances.
Given the multitude of problems arising from the pandemic, I am inclined to think that most judges will be sympathetic to tenants facing eviction after coronavirus. Landlords need to keep this in mind when negotiating with tenants.
If you assistance with an landlord-tenant matter, contact me for a consultation.