Obtaining possession of a rental unit always requires a formal court proceeding, known as an eviction. Massachusetts evictions are known in court as summary process cases and are intended to be “just, speedy, and inexpensive.” In reality, Massachusetts evictions are often more complicated and contentious than one might expect.
Starting an Eviction in Massachusetts
Starting an eviction in Massachusetts generally requires the service of a notice to quit upon the tenant. A notice to quit informs the tenant that their tenancy is being terminated. If the tenant does not leave by the end of the date stated in the notice to quit, the landlord may start the eviction.
A proper notice to quit is a critical part of the eviction process. A landlord’s failure to include the proper information and disclosures in one of these notices is often grounds for dismissing an eviction, which will force the landlord to start the process all over again.
Filing an Eviction Case
After the time stated in the notice to quit expires, a landlord must file the eviction case. Massachusetts evictions are generally brought in District Court or Housing Court. There are advantages and disadvantages to each type of court, and an experienced landlord-tenant attorney can help decide the best choice for filing your eviction.
The length of an eviction generally depends upon how the tenant chooses to respond. Courts strongly encourage parties to try mediation and work out a favorable resolution to the problem. If this is not successful, the eviction will go to trial, which requires the landlord to properly present his or her case to a judge or jury.
Massachusetts evictions can be tricky legal matters. If you find yourself involved in such a case, contact me for a consultation.