How to Evict a Tenant in Massachusetts

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In Massachusetts a landlord can legally evict a tenant under Chapter 239 of the Massachusetts Code. However, the landlord must provide proper notification and cannot pursue an action before the termination date specified in the lease. Additionally, the law requires that the tenancy be a minimum of six months.

Current Statutes

Chapter 239: Section 1A. Land or tenements used for residential purposes; action by lessor under this chapter to recover possession; conditions and restrictions

A lessor of land or tenements used for residential purposes may bring an action under this chapter to recover possession before the determination of the lease by its own limitation, subject to the following:

  • The tenancy of the premises at issue shall have been created for at least six months duration by a written lease in which a specific termination date is designated, a copy of which, signed by all parties, shall be annexed to the summons.
  • No such action may be initiated before the latest date permitted by the lease for either party to notify the other of his intention to renew or extend the rental agreement, or in any case before thirty days before the designated termination date of the tenancy.
  • The person bringing the action shall notify all defendants by registered mail that he has done so, which notification shall be mailed not later than twenty-four hours after the action is initiated.
  • The person bringing the action shall demonstrate substantial grounds upon which the court could reasonably conclude that the defendant is likely to continue in possession of the premises at issue without right after the designated termination date, which grounds shall be set forth in the writ. No execution for possession may issue in any such action before the day next following the designated termination date of the tenancy.

Chapter 239: Section 3. Judgment and execution; costs; appeal

If the court finds that the plaintiff is entitled to possession, he shall have judgment and execution for possession and costs, and, if rent is claimed as provided in section two and found due, the judgment and execution shall include the amount of the award.

At least forty-eight hours prior to serving or levying upon an execution issued on a judgment for the plaintiff for possession of land or tenements rented or leased for dwelling purposes, the officer serving or levying upon the execution shall give the defendant written notice that at a specified date and time he will serve or levy upon the execution and that at that time he will physically remove the defendant and his personal possessions from the premises if the defendant has not prior to that time vacated the premises voluntarily.

The notice shall contain (1) the signature, full name, full business address and business telephone number of the officer; (2) the name of the court and the docket number of the action; (3) a statement that the officer will place any personal property remaining on the premises at the time the execution is levied in storage at a licensed public warehouse, and the full name, full business address, and business telephone number of the warehouse to be used.

Talk with an Attorney

If you are a landlord who needs to evict a tenant, Massachusetts laws allow you a course of action. If the court validates your rights to possession, you can receive possession, any claimed rent as well as court costs. After judgment in your favor, you must give the defaulting tenant written notice at least 48 hours before levying upon the execution. Talk with an attorney to discuss your case.

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