A Landlord's Guide to the Eviction Process in Eastern Massachusetts

Updated April 28, 2022

In a perfect world, landlords and property managers would never have to evict a tenant. Good tenants who pay the rent on time, take care of the property, and sign a new lease, are always the goal. However, most real estate investors will go through an eviction process at least once.

Continue reading to learn more about how Eastern Massachusetts property managers follow certain steps to tackle the legal eviction process.

The Basics of Removing a Tenant

An eviction is a legal action that a property owner or property manager takes against a tenant to vacate and abandon the rental property. A property manager can serve as a landlord's agent in the eviction of a tenant.

However, the property owner must understand follow the legal eviction process, including the state's eviction laws. Removing a renter in any other way than through the housing court system can lead to legal problems for investors. 

How Long Does the Eviction Process Take?

Evictions can take anywhere from two weeks to three months, depending on the circumstances. The time it takes you to complete the process will be determined by several variables, including:

  • Current eviction laws in Massachusetts

  • The kind of rental property

  • Reasons for starting the eviction process

  • If there have been past offenses

  • The court docket

  • Whether the tenant decides to countersue

While it's not a simple process, it's a necessary one to protect your real estate investment business from potential lawsuits. 

Eviction Notice Letter on Front Door (R) (S)-1
What is the Process for Tenant Eviction?

Property owners must follow Massachussett's eviction procedures to ensure the successful removal of a tenant. Work with your attorney and a property manager to follow the eviction process.

1. Determine a Legal Reason for Eviction

Property owners must follow Massachussett's eviction procedures to ensure the successful removal of a tenant. Work with your attorney and a property manager to follow the eviction process.

1. Determine a Legal Reason for Eviction

Tenants can only be removed from a property if they violate the lease. Before filing with the courts, double-check that you have a firm understanding of the lease terms and how your renter broke the rules. Violations can include:

  • The tenant does not pay rent or the rent is late on more than one occasion

  • Violating a no-pet or non-smoking clause

  • Subletting the home without your permission

  • "Extra" tenants that aren't on the lease

  • Illegal activities in the investment property

  • Extensive damage to the property or home

  • Disrupting or endangering the safety of other tenants, neighbors, or members of the community

  • Refusing to move out when the lease ends

A property owner must have documentation that supports the legal reason to evict. An eviction attorney can help you gather what you need to support your case in court. 

2. Deliver Proper Notice to the Tenant

An eviction notice should include the reason for the eviction, the renter's steps to avoid being evicted, and how long they have to resolve the problem or leave. This notice shows that you've made an effort to inform the renter about the pending eviction and given them an opportunity to fix the problem.

Work with your lawyer and a property management expert to deliver the appropriate notice. A written notice can include Pay Rent or Quit, Cure or Quit, or an Unconditional Quit. This last notice tells the tenant they do not have any opportunities to make the situation right and must move out by a specific date. 

3. File the Eviction Lawsuit in Court

Suppose the tenant receives a notice but does not resolve the problem or move out independently. In that case, a property owner or residential property manager may file a complaint in court. This is an unlawful detainer lawsuit. If you haven't already, be sure to hire an eviction lawyer at this stage. 

The court will then give a specific date for the eviction hearing and notify the renter of the summons. While the case is pending, the tenant can legally stay in the home until a ruling is issued.

Wooden gavel, Lady Justice, gold scale and law books on wooden table (R) (S)
4. Attend the Court Hearing With Your Eviction Lawyer

Make sure to show up on the date of the hearing. In the hearing, you will provide proof of your reason for eviction and make your case to the judge.

If the tenant decides to countersue, the eviction process could take longer than a few weeks. Furthermore, if the tenant can show that you violated your responsibilities as a property owner, that the rental home is uninhabitable due to your misconduct, or that you are retaliating against the tenant, the judgment could go against you.

5. Taking Back Possession

If a judge ruled for the tenant, they are allowed to stay in the rental home. However, if the judge rules in your favor, the eviction process can move forward. Work with a property manager and law enforcement to complete the removal.

Get Expert Property Management Help For Evictions

The eviction process can take a toll both financially and emotionally. Therefore, it's a good idea to enlist the help of a professional property management services company and an attorney to help you follow the letter of the law in the eviction. CHARLESGATE Property Management has years of experience taking care of rentals and residents. Let us help you deal with difficult tenants and evictions and find better residents for your properties going forward!

To learn more about eviction, download a free copy of the Rental Property Owner's Tenant Eviction Checklist.

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