A notice of eviction in Massachusetts can mean one of two things.
To start an eviction, a landlord is required to send a tenant a notice to quit. The notice to quit informs the tenant that the tenant’s tenancy is over, and that the tenant must leave the apartment by a definite date. The required number of days that must be given in one of these notices depends on the reason for terminating a tenancy. A case for non-payment of rent generally requires a fourteen day notice to quit; a no-fault eviction usually requires thirty days. After the tenant is provided this notice, and the time in the notice has elapsed, the landlord can then file the eviction case.
After serving the notice to quit, the landlord begins an eviction case through the service of an eviction summons, which lists the reason for the eviction, the court where the case is being brought, and the deadline that the tenant has to respond to the eviction. This is the final notice of eviction for the tenant; the tenant must then answer the eviction complaint and state any reasons why they do not believe they should be evicted. Failing to answer an eviction summons has serious consequences: a landlord can request a default judgment against a tenant, which is an automatic “win” for the landlord.
A landlord sending a notice of eviction, and a tenant receiving one of these notices, should check the document to ensure that it is accurate and contains all of the required information. The smallest defect in one of these notices may lead to the notice, and subsequent eviction, as being invalid (a reason why both landlords and tenants should consider consulting with an experienced attorney on one of these matters).
A tenant who receives either type of notice needs to act quickly in dealing with it. Both notices make it clear that an eviction is imminent, and a tenant needs to plan accordingly in responding to one of these cases.
If you are a tenant facing a notice of eviction, or a landlord who needs to perform an eviction, contact me for a consultation.