Just as there are laws in place that protect you as a landlord, there are laws in Massachusetts that protect your tenants. While it is always best to first try and deal with difficult tenants, sometimes eviction is necessary. Evicting a tenant is a process that needs to be undertaken carefully and it is essential that you understand exactly what it entails.
In Massachusetts, an eviction describes the process of receiving a court order allowing you to remove occupants at your rental property. A court order is required in Massachusetts before a landlord can remove any occupants from a property. When you file the court case, it is known as a summary process. When the court issues an order that allows you to evict the tenant, that is known as an execution. It is important to know that even after an execution is issued, you still cannot remove any person or property from your rental property. Only a sheriff or constable can move an uncooperative tenant and their property.
When is Eviction an Option?
There are two different types of rental agreements: tenancy under a lease, and tenancy-at-will. Before you can determine if you can evict your tenant, you need to understand the difference between these two types of agreements.
- Tenancy-at-will is an oral or written agreement that allows the landlord or the renter to terminate the tenancy with a minimum of 30 days notice. These are commonly known as month-to-month rentals.
- Tenancy under a lease essentially covers any lease that is not month-to-month. Unless the lease agreement has been broken, or the lease agreement allows for termination with notice, an eviction is not an option.
Missing Rental Payments
If your tenant has not made a rent payment on time, as a landlord you may write a notice to quit with a 14 day period. If the tenant does not move out in that time, you must file an eviction case in order to move forward with the eviction.
If you are operating a rental property under a tenancy-at-will agreement, you may terminate the rental at any time, with 30 days notice. As mentioned above, termination of a lease must be a result of a breach of contract, and must also come with a 30 day notice to quit. It is only when rental payments are not being made that a landlord may reduce their notice to 14 days. In either case, if the tenant does not comply with the notice to quit, an eviction case must be formally filed.