Evictions for lease violations occur when a landlord wishes to evict a tenant for violating a term of the lease, other than non-payment of rent.
Such cases are similar in many ways to other eviction cases, but come with a number of differences that landlords need to be aware of.
What’s Required for Bringing an Eviction Based on a Lease Violation?
Many courts take the position that a tenant’s violation of a lease needs to be a material breach of the agreement. In other words, a minor lease violation, on its own, may not be enough to justify an eviction.
This, of course, depends upon the specific circumstances of the case, but is something to consider before pursuing such a matter.
Evictions for lease violations almost always require some form of notice to the tenant. Most leases generally require a seven-day notice to quit, stating the specific grounds for eviction.
Such notices must be prepared carefully; the failure to include a reason for eviction can keep the landlord from raising that matter later on.
Proving the Matter In Court
Evictions for lease violations generally follow the same procedure as most other eviction cases in Massachusetts. A notable exception is that tenants are generally not allowed to raise counterclaims against a landlord in such a case (where the tenant can sue the landlord in the same court action).
While it isn’t hard to start an eviction case for a lease violation, proving such a matter to a court can be a different story. The rules of procedure and evidence control how the court is able to decide one of these case. Failure to know these rules can result in the exclusion of necessary witnesses and evidence, and can be fatal to one’s case.
For these reasons, an eviction case for a lease violation has many traps for the unwary. Massachusetts landlords should strongly consider hiring an experienced attorney to help with one of these matters. Contact me if you need assistance with such a case.