Boston Property Management Insights: What to Do After Serving a 30-Day Notice

Updated March 4, 2022

One of the most challenging jobs of a landlord is the eviction process. Unfortunately, dealing with difficult tenants sometimes leads to ending the lease. One of the first steps is to deliver a 30-day notice, but what happens next? 

If you haven't yet hired a Boston property management company to help with challenging tenant situations, we hope this blog post can help! Today we'll explore the legal eviction process, and the importance of patience after your resident receives the notice.

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What Is a 30-Day Eviction Notice?

As a landlord, you can evict a tenant if they violate the terms of the lease. However, before delivering a notice, consult your lawyer and make sure you have a legal reason to remove the resident. 

With a month-to-month tenancy, it can be easier to end an occupancy for bad residents than ending a long-term tenancy—but it's still crucial to ask the tenant to leave according to the law. Whether you offer month-to-month or 12-month leases, removing a resident starts by creating the appropriate written notice.

For example: 

  • If a renter is not current with rent collection, fails with rent collection, doesn't pay rent on time and refuses to get caught up on past-due balance, you have a legal reason to begin eviction proceedings. A landlord can serve a Pay or Quit notice, which gives the tenant about three days to pay or move out. 

  • If a tenant breaks a no-pets provision or harms the property as a lease violation, the landlord can provide a Cure or Quit notice. This letter gives the renter approximately three days to fix (cure) the issue or move out. If the resident resolves the issue, everything goes back to normal until the end of the lease.

However, tenants don't always comply with a written notice—despite announcing the next steps of eviction. 

When Tenants Don't Comply 

What can a property owner do when a tenant disregards a Notice to Quit and leaves you with unpaid rent? First, work with your lawyer and a property management expert to deliver a 30-day notice to vacate. When a resident refuses to go by the rules or pay the rent, property owners can give them thirty days to leave before filing eviction paperwork with the courts. 

A 30-day notice must be provided before seeking a court order for residents to leave.

File an Unlawful Detainer Lawsuit to Start the Eviction Process

After serving a 30-day notice, the tenant has that amount of time to make arrangements and vacate the property. If they do not leave in that timeframe, they can be considered trespassing. During these thirty days, it's important to minimize contact with the tenant but continue operating as usual. 

If your renter still doesn't leave after thirty days, it's time to file an unlawful detainer lawsuit. To initiate the unlawful detainer lawsuit, gather copies of the lease agreement and any evidence of just cause pertaining to the situation. Complete the unlawful detainer complaint, declaring yourself as the petitioner and the tenant as the respondent. Use the full legal names of everyone living in the rental home and the property's address. Pay any required court fees using the petition, summons, and service paperwork.

We know this stage of dealing with a bad tenant can be stressful! Work closely with your attorney to guide you through these steps. 

Serve the Tenant

After filing with the court, an eviction lawsuit summons must be served to the tenant. In many cases, property owners hire a process server to handle this task. If you cannot hand-deliver the eviction notice, place a copy on the door and mail a certified copy to the tenant as proof of the service. A Boston property management company can help make sure this is done legally. 

What If a Tenant Counter Sues?

The tenant has five days after receiving the eviction notice to submit a response to the court. If the tenant believes you are evicting him unlawfully, they may file a counterclaim with allegations against you. For example, they could claim that the property is unhabitable, teeming with rodents, or lacks utilities as required by law or lease. If the tenant replies, be ready to respond in court.

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Be Patient and Listen to Legal Advice

Remember to be patient. In some cases, the Massachusetts court system could take 30 to 60 days to schedule a court hearing. At the hearing, make sure to bring critical documents, the rental agreement, and witnesses with you, along with your lawyer. 

If the court rules in your favor for the unlawful detainer, get a writ of possession. Take this document to the sheriff's department to execute the eviction. The sheriff's department or law enforcement officials will make sure the tenants leave the rental property.

Property Managers Provide Eviction Support

Evicting a tenant requires following the law and a lot of patience. Property owners benefit from someone in their corner to help with the eviction process, then find a better tenant to recover lost income. CHARLESGATE Property Management has the experience to help with evictions and other day-to-day aspects of managing rental properties. If you're dealing with a challenging tenant situation, let's talk soon! 

For more insights into evicting a tenant, download a free copy of the "Rental Property Owner's Tenant Eviction Checklist."

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