Let’s go through the entire process from beginning to end.
Notice to Quit.
In the Massachusetts the eviction process there are two basic forms of the notice to quit, which is a requirement to begin the eviction process in Massachusetts. There are also other choices which pertain to criminal activity occurring on your property, which is out of the scope of this blog. The two main forms of providing notice of the termination of tenancy in Massachusetts are; the 30 day notice to quit and the 14 day notice to quit (for nonpayment of rent). The 14 day notice to quit, can be filed after any point when rent is due and has not been paid. Massachusetts does have a 15 day grace period, hence the 14 day notice to quit, which includes the first day the rent was due and 14 more days in which you are required to allow the tenant to pay overdue rent. The more common and more often used, 30 Day notice to quit, is a little more difficult to use, but highly recommended. D 30 day notice to quit, will not actually start running until the first day of the next month. If you were to file a 30 notice to quit on the fifth day of the month, it would not actually start running until the first day of the next month. Depending on when you’re choosing to file, this can increase the duration of time by however many days are left in the month that you serve it, then the 30 days after the first day of the next month. It is important to remember that any notice to quit to terminate tenancy in Massachusetts and begin the eviction process, must be served either by a constable or a sheriff in the county your serving the notice and, although it may serve the tenant and hand yourself, but they will have to sign the notice to quit and you will have to have a Notary Public there to witness the signing, this generally won’t happen, so don’t waste your time.
Summons of Complaint.
After the duration of time has expired, depending on which notice to quit you a file, the next document that you must serve on the tenant is the summons. You must purchase a summons from the SE. Housing Ct. or which ever court is in your jurisdiction of the property that you will be evicting the tenant from. The summons cost five dollars and have an embossed stamp in them, you cannot use a photocopy of one. These are also served by a constable or sheriff in the jurisdiction or county that your property is located in. In this summons there are four important dates that you may obtain from your local housing court. These dates are the service date, the entry date, the answer date, and the court date. Generally it’s about three weeks from the time you serve the tenant, till the week in which you can get them into court to commence your eviction process. Depending on how the days fall, this can be pushed out to another week.
Eviction Court Date.
Your eviction court date, is the day that you appear in housing court of your jurisdiction to have your eviction heard before a judge. Most jurisdictions will want you to attempt mediation before actually putting the case before a judge, unless you bring your matter in the District Court of your particular jurisdiction. Just know, generally when you are attempting to mediate the eviction, that if it goes in front of a judge, by general practice, the judge will afford your tenant another 30 days from the date you’re in court to leave the premises. So when you’re mediation it’s very important to be considering the fact that if you go in front of a judge, the judge is not in itself the tenant may have to leave that day, that we or even within two weeks, generally most judges will afford the tenant another 30 days from the day you’re in court. This is important to consider when attempting to settle the matter with the mediator. I’ll write another blog post on settling cases, we don’t want this blog to get too long.
Judgment and Execution.
Once you receive your judgment and execution for eviction, which generally takes at least 10 business days to receive both in the mail from the court, you must hire a constable or sheriff to evict the tenant and they will provide the tenant with 48 hours notice that you will be evicting the tenant. When you evict a tenant, realize that you must hire a constable or sheriff, a moving company and provide storage for their belongings for up to six months. This is another thing to consider while you’re in mediation, because it’s much easier and cheaper to have the tenant move out, instead of being forced to hire constable or sheriff, moving crew and providing storage for their belongings.
Things that may Lengthen the Process of Eviction.
If you took your action in the District Court in your jurisdiction, the tenant may by simply filing a form, move your case to housing court. This will afford the tenant another two weeks, before you can get them in front of the judge. If the tenant files for discovery with their answer, this will also give the tenant another automatic two weeks, before you get them the core. Plus you will also have to deal with the discovery demand and provide all required documentation that they are requesting. Appeal of judgment, if the tenant appeals the judgment you obtained in front of the judge, this will generally happen when the constable or share contacts them with the 48 hour notice that they will be evicted in the tenant goes to court and filed an appeal of the judgment. Again without getting into mediation, it is important to know that in mediation part of the deal you can make is that they are not allowed to appeal the case, ask for an extension or leave of stay.
The eviction process and Massachusetts is extremely time-consuming and many pitfalls along the way can force you to start over from the beginning. Even though you do not need an attorney to perform eviction yourself, the amount of time it is going to take you to evict your tenant in the amount of mistakes that you can make along the process which will force you to start off from the beginning, it is highly recommended that you hire an experience eviction attorney. Now adding up all the time together between the service of process, service of summons of the eviction, the court date in the amount of time that the judge will allow them even if you do get an eviction, you’re looking between 3 to 6 months, or more to get your tenant out of your property. It’s important to consider how much your rent is how much it will cost you to have the property not generating rental revenue in your decision if you should hire an attorney to provide eviction services for you.
Joseph F. Botelho, Esq.
BOTELHO LAW GROUP
Attorneys At Law
901 Eastern Ave.
Fall River, MA 02723