The Eviction Process: How Long Should It Take in Boston?

The eviction process can be long and drawn out, especially without the right guidance to navigate the proceedings. There are many steps to the process, and each step takes time when following the law. Today our Boston property management walks through the process to help investors understand how long it can take to remove a renter. We'll also talk about how to find great tenants and avoid eviction proceedings before they begin.

What's Determines the Timeline for the Eviction Process?

So, what is eviction? It's the legal process for removing a tenant from your property. Understanding how long an eviction can take starts by understanding what's involved in the process. A professional property manager helps property owners navigate the eviction process and manage renters, including getting started and following the legal steps for successful removal. 

State and Local Laws

As a Boston real estate investor, you already know that Massachusetts laws govern rental property operations. These laws impact how an eviction moves forward and how long it can take from filing a lawsuit to receiving a judgment in favor of the property owner. Work with an eviction attorney to avoid making a legal mistake that could cause delays.

The Reason For the Eviction (Based On the Lease or Rental Agreement)

Reviewing the lease, gathering documentation, and confirming that you have a legal reason to evict also adds time to the process. Some of the reasons for eviction include failure to pay rent, violating the lease terms, or creating a nuisance. Even if you have a legal basis, it's essential to work through the court to assess the situation and protect yourself from the consequences of removing a renter on your own. 

If the Tenant Decides to Fight the Eviction

Tenants also have rights and are protected by law from being wrongly evicted. In some cases, renters respond to the lawsuit with a countersuit to remain in the property and get out of paying past-due rent. However, working through a counter lawsuit can add more time to a successful eviction. 

A calendar of the month
What's An Average Timeframe to Complete An Eviction? 

Most property management companies can tell you that the eviction process can last anywhere from two weeks or as long as three months, depending on the circumstances. From serving a renter with written notice of eviction to filing a motion in housing court and waiting for a hearing date, property owners are at the mercy of the system when navigating through a removal. 

Be Sure to Attend the Hearing in Court

The local or district court will set a hearing date once it is apparent that one is required. Depending on the court docket, the court date is generally set within 20 days after filing paperwork.

Wait for the Judge's Ruling

Before taking any action on your own, wait for the judge's ruling on the eviction lawsuit after the hearing. If a judge rules in your favor, submit the verdict to the local sheriff to have the tenant removed as soon as possible. In certain situations, the judgment will provide a deadline for the tenant to vacate.

What Are Some Factors That Might Slow Down the Process?

Many eviction cases are wrapped up in a matter of weeks. However, it could take longer depending on a few other variables, including:

  • If a tenant has more than one lease violation. In some jurisdictions, minor infractions like not taking out the garbage or paying rent late are insufficient grounds for eviction. Instead, the law could provide numerous opportunities to fix the issues before allowing the removal. If the tenant fails to comply with court orders, the eviction will move forward. 
  • Evidence from the tenant. It can delay the court process if the tenant claims they are not paying rent because you do not uphold your lease agreement responsibilities. Always document every communication (including the Notice to Quit) with a renter to avoid being wrongly accused of not performing your duties as the property owner. A property management company can ensure everything is done according to the law.
  • When the tenant just won't leave. Sometimes, the court will rule in your favor, but the renter refuses to vacate. In cases like this, law enforcement will need to intervene and remove the renter. This step could add time to finalizing the eviction, depending on the sheriff's obligations.

An eviction attorney and a property manager can help you navigate these issues. With delays, it can be best for a property management company to step in as your "buffer" to manage the renter and property while the eviction process plays out. 


Judges gavel on wooden desk

A Boston Property Management Company Helps No Matter How Long It Takes

How long does it take to evict a tenant? Whether it takes a few weeks or a few months, a Boston property management company can help. The right property managers know each step of the legal eviction process and can work with your eviction attorney to protect your property and help ease your stress throughout the process. 

CHARLESGATE Property Management wants to help investors avoid eviction in the first place! With our hospitality approach to full-service property management, we help property owners find quality renters, then ensure every resident feels at home. Reach out soon to learn more about our approach!

For more information about a standard eviction process, download our free Tenant Eviction Checklist.

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