How To Avoid Unlawful Eviction In Massachusetts
Massachusetts has a variety of tenant laws in place to prevent landlords from taking advantage of a tenant or tenants. Some of these protections involve the eviction process and what is considered to be within reason as well as what might be pushing the limit.
There are a variety of stories online that tell of landlords cutting power, changing locks, and doing a variety of unscrupulous acts to force a tenant out, but as a landlord, this can guarantee 2 things; that you will most likely end up in court, and your costs will be much higher than if you had taken the proper steps to evict a tenant.
Follow Proper Procedure
Whether a tenant has stopped paying rent, regularly disturbing neighbors, or actively destroying the rental space, no matter the severity, certain steps need to be taken before anything can be done. It is important to follow the necessary procedures to ensure that you are respecting the rights of a tenant while acting in accordance with Massachusetts Tenant Laws.
Types of Eviction notices
There are three primary types of eviction notices: a 7-day, a 14-day and a 30-day notice, each of which have their own specific purpose. Not all notices apply will apply to each tenant, and specific notices may only be used in certain situations. Generally, for an eviction notice, a landlord must provide at least 30 days’ notice before the eviction can go into effect. A 7-day notice can be used if an agreement was broken in the lease & a 14-day notice is generally used for non-payment.
Below are some detailed causes for eviction:
Pay Rent or Quit Notices
These notices are normally sent when a tenant is not paying rent. It is a written notice that provides a tenant with a small window to rectify the issue or face a potential lawsuit for eviction.
Cure or Quit Notices
This notice is generally mailed when a tenant is at fault for violating a term in the lease agreement. Like a Pay or quite notice, a tenant is provided with a small window to resolve the issue or vacate the premises.
Unconditional Quit Notices
This notice is an aggressive route to take as it can be only be used in extreme or extended situations that include but are not limited to:
Repeated late payments
Extensive Property Damage
Dangerous Or illegal activity
In the event an eviction case goes to court, paperwork is going to be a landlord’s greatest asset. By having an organized paper trail of all communication and contact with the tenant, this can help to expedite the hearing and potential help to work in your favor. However, the opposite can be said if you are lacking any documentation.
A tenant cannot be evicted for the following reasons:
Providing written notification on violations of sanitary code
Reporting a landlord to health inspectors
Reporting a landlord for violations of law
Withholding rent because of poor living conditions
Taking legal action against your landlord
Organizing / joining a tenant’s organization
Requesting a lock change for safety reasons
Legal Eviction Consultation & Insight
In the event of a landlord or tenant dispute, your best bet is to hire a lawyer to mitigate the problem for you directly. For help navigating any landlord/tenant dispute, you can call attorney Bucklin at 781-632-8675 or contact him directly on his website to help find a solution for all parties involved.