Cash for keys is a popular alternative to the formal eviction process in Massachusetts. As an incentive for tenants to voluntarily leave a rental property, landlords can offer tenants money to move. Often, such deals can save landlords significant time and expense.
Here, I’ll discuss some important things that Massachusetts landlords should know about cash for keys.
Pros and Cons of Cash For Keys
For many landlords, the thought of offering money to a tenant (especially a non-paying tenant) is perplexing. However, basic economics can often make such agreements very viable for landlords. An eviction case can easily cost thousands of dollars in attorney fees and court costs. Offering a portion of that money to the tenant can sometimes avoid the entire process and lead to a much quicker outcome.
Cash for keys, however, isn’t always a good deal for landlords. If a tenant insists on an unreasonable amount of money, eviction may be the better option.
Cash for Keys Agreements Should Always Be in Writing
These agreements should always be in writing. Importantly, they need to include all of the deal’s relevant terms, including a specific date by which the tenant must vacate and a requirement that the tenant remove all of their possessions from the apartment.
Landlords should also require a tenant to waive all claims they might have against the landlord, arising out of the landlord-tenant relationship.
Cash for Keys Is Not A Substitute For A Formal Eviction
These kinds of agreements, importantly, are not a substitute for the formal eviction process in Massachusetts.
If a tenant does not leave the apartment, a landlord will still need to evict. If one of these agreements is reached as part of a settlement in an on-going eviction case, a landlord will still need to obtain the required execution for possession to have the tenants removed.