Serving an Eviction Notice: What Boston Property Owners Need to Know

Updated August 8, 2022

Whether you're a new property owner or a seasoned investor, you know that evicting a tenant is not an easy process. It can be challenging to find the right way to go about it, and there are many things landlords need to know before starting the process. 

Finding a qualified tenant for your rental property is one of the best ways to avoid eviction, but what if you're already dealing with a difficult resident? If you are forced to remove a resident, our Boston property management company suggests some steps to follow. While this blog is no substitution for legal advice from a qualified eviction attorney, we hope that walking through the steps in the eviction process here can help!

Eviction Notice Letter on Front Door (R) (S)Serve the Eviction Notice

When you've consulted your lawyer, and you're sure you have a legal reason to evict, the first step of the eviction process is to serve notice. The eviction notice informs your tenant that you intend to remove them from the real estate investment property, and it provides them with the option to avoid being evicted if possible.

Work with a lawyer to create the 30-day notice that may require a "just cause" and other specific information. You can also work with a real property management Boston company to deliver the notice and follow all current eviction laws.

What Are the Types of Eviction Notices?

There are typically four types of eviction notices depending on current regulations and the lease agreement, although other types of notices may be served as well.

  • 14-Day Vacate Notice

  • 10-Day Notice to Comply or Vacate

  • 3-Day Notice for Waste, Nuisance, or Illegal Activity

  • No-Cause Notice

If you're unsure what a written eviction notice form means or when to use one, a property manager can guide you! As we have recently seen, the eviction notice period could change because of extenuating circumstances—like a global pandemic!

What Are Legal Reasons to Start the Eviction Process?

Several violations can trigger an eviction notice. Consult the lease agreement and your legal counsel to be sure you have a legal reason to evict, including:

  • Past-due rent. Property owners can give notice to a tenant to pay rent or vacate when the rent is late. This notice informs your tenant how much they need to pay, as well as any late fees that apply. The time limit to comply is usually three to five days after receiving the notice.

  • A lease violation. Use a notice to quit in situations where your tenant engages in behavior that violates the lease terms, such as smoking or having pets, when such activities are restricted. 

  • Severe violations or infractions. When a tenant issue is severe, such as continuous damage, violations, late payments, no payments, or even the commission of a felony offense, you may not wish to give your tenant the option to resolve it. In this case, use an unconditional quit notice, also known as a notice to vacate, which informs the tenant they must leave by a specific date with no opportunity to avoid eviction proceedings through payment or action.

  • Termination of lease. The 30- or 60-day notice to quit is employed instead of a fixed-term lease if the agreement is month-to-month rather than for a specified duration.

In each of these cases, check current laws to make sure you can legally serve such a notice.

What's the Standard Eviction Timeline?

How long does it take to evict a renter? Evictions can be lengthy, often lasting several weeks to a month as the process works through the legal system. In most cases, the eviction timeline includes:

  • Consulting the rental agreement

  • Giving notice

  • The tenant either fixes the problem or continues to be in default

  • The property owner prepares paperwork to evict the tenant or engage an eviction attorney

  • A process server delivers the eviction notice to the tenant

  • The tenant has time to respond to the notice

  • If the resident fails to comply, the owner makes an appointment for a court appearance

  • The property owner and their attorney attend a court hearing, at which both parties present their case to the judge

  • The court sides with the landlord or the tenant

  • If the property is still occupied, an officer of the court evicts the tenant

  • The owner gets the property ready for a new tenant!

While it's not often a quick process, it's crucial to follow the law and be patient with the court process to avoid a costly counter lawsuit. 

Happy lawyer and client working with papers and smiling each other (R) (S)Choose the Right Way for Eviction

successful landlord should follow the legal eviction process to avoid getting in legal troubleWork with a Boston company specializing in property management services to deliver the notices and manage the renter while still living in your property. 

Avoid changing the locks without notice or removing a resident's belonging. Making unreasonable demands that don't comply with the lease or Massachusetts law can also lead to a counter eviction lawsuit (and a tenant that gets to stay in your property). 

Rental Property Managers Know: The Best Eviction is No Eviction!

The ideal situation is never needing to file an eviction complaint. By screening quality tenants and being an excellent landlord, many bad resident situations can be avoided. However, sometimes tenants have to be removed from a property. The professional property managers at CHARLESGATE are here to help you with an eviction and find high-quality tenants from the start! Reach out to learn more about how we screen and manage tenants.

For more information about the eviction process, download a free copy of our Rental Property Owner's Tenant Eviction Checklist.

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