Preparing a notice to quit is a requirement for nearly every Massachusetts eviction. This notice informs the tenant of the reason for the eviction and provides them a time period in which their tenancy is terminated.
A mistake in one of these notices, however, can be fatal to an eviction case, and lead to unnecessary delay.
Here, I’ll discuss three common mistakes made when preparing a notice to quit.
#1: Using the Improper Notice to Quit for The Tenancy
The proper notice to quit depends on the type of tenancy. Generally, a fourteen-day notice to quit is required for evictions based upon non-payment of rent, and a thirty-day notice is required for a no-fault eviction for a tenancy at will (commonly known as a month-to-month tenancy).
Landlords need to be careful that they are using the correct notice to quit for their eviction, as the wrong notice will likely lead to the eviction’s dismissal.
Landlords also need to be careful when using templates for these notices. Often, there are many free notices to quit on the Internet that are not intended for a Massachusetts eviction.
#2: Stating Inconsistent Reasons for the Eviction
A notice to quit must be consistent. Including inconsistent reasons for the eviction can also be grounds for dismissing the eviction case.
#3: Not Using a Sheriff or Constable to Serve the Notice
In an eviction, the landlord bears the burden of proving that the tenant received the notice to quit. Simply taping the notice to quit to the tenant’s apartment or mailing it to the tenant can be problematic, if the tenant denies receipt.
A much better option is to use a constable or sheriff to serve the notice. By law, such service creates a presumption that the tenant received the notice to quit. The tenant can try and argue otherwise, but will have a much harder argument to make if there is proof of service from a constable or sheriff.
If you assistance with a landlord-tenant matter, contact me for a consultation.