How long does an eviction take in Massachusetts? Answering that question is like a weatherman stating what the weather is going to be the next day: an expert can give a good prediction, but many unknown factors can make a big difference in the ultimate outcome.
Beginning a Massachusetts Eviction Case
The beginning of a Massachusetts eviction case is an important consideration in determining how long one of these cases will ultimately take. To start an eviction, a landlord is required to send a notice to quit, which informs the tenant that their tenancy is over. The timeframe under one of these notices depends on the reason for eviction, and are usually anywhere from seven to thirty days.
Filing An Eviction Case
Following the service of a notice to quit, the landlord must file the eviction case. Unlike a typical lawsuit, where the lawsuit is filed with the court and then served on the party, in an eviction case, the opposite happens: the eviction case paperwork is served on the tenant first, and then filed with the court. This notice must be served on the tenant at a minimum, seven days before it is filed with the court (and not more than thirty days).
The next factor in determining how long an eviction takes is whether the tenant(s) request discovery and a jury trial.
Discovery is the right of a party to learn information from the opposing side, through interrogatories (written questions) and request for documents. A request for discovery automatically postpones an eviction trial by two weeks. Depending on the amount of information requested, discovery may take even longer.
A defendant in an eviction case has a right to a jury trial. Unlike bench trials, which are held before a single judge, a jury trial requires the calling of potential jurors by a court, and usually happens on select days at a court. As such, a request for a jury trial typically also pushes back an eviction case, depending upon the court’s trial schedule.
The above are some of the many factors that help answer how long an eviction in Massachusetts take. Generally, an uncontested eviction will take between one to two months. A contested eviction, with requests for discovery and a jury trial, can take anywhere from three to six months.
Having an experienced attorney on your side can make a huge difference in moving one of these cases along, and getting you the results you need. Contact me for a consultation.