I am being evicted by my landlord

I am being evicted by my landlord

Things to know before contacting us about an eviction.


General

The steps for eviction vary depending on the particular agreement you have with your landlord, with certain minimum state requirements. An important factor in determining what are your rights is the type of agreement and tenancy relationship you have with you landlord. First, you should determine whether you have a month to month tenancy, a current term lease, or an expired lease. Identifying the type of tenancy you have is the first step in identifying your rights as a tenant and the procedures your landlord would need to follow in order to succeed on his or her claim. 

There are different types of documents that you might receive from your landlord that would begin the eviction process. The first document would be a notice to quit. The notice to quit is not an order for the court but serves as the official notice of the potential eviction lawsuit that could follow. A notice to quit is usually either a 14-day or 30-day notice to vacate, but these may vary depending on the type of rental agreement you have with your landlord. Receiving a notice to quit does not necessarily mean that you will have to leave the premises in that time period. There are different resources and options that can be discussed with an attorney that could help delay the eviction or allow you to reach an agreement with your landlord. Following the notice to quit you might receive a summary process summons and a complaint indicating that a lawsuit for eviction has been filed and the Court is now involved. 

It is always important to remember that your landlord cannot use self-help methods to remove you from the property. These include, but are not limited to, going onto the property and removing your property, changing the locks or preventing you from entering the property in any way. If this has occurred, you may be able to sue the landlord for damages. In the end, only a judge can evict you from the property after a summary process was filed and judgment is entered against you. You and your things may only be physically removed from the property once the landlord has obtained a court order granting the eviction and the landlord hires the sheriff to regain possession.


What can you do now?

The steps to follow and your options will vary depending on the circumstances.

Have you received any sort of notice from the landlord or the court? This notice from the landlord should indicate the specific reason or reasons for which you are being evicted. Identifying and knowing the reason for eviction is important to resolve the issue in the most favorable way possible. If you have received any court documents it is important to identify any and all dates that could potentially indicate deadlines for required written responses and/or your appearance in court before a judge. 

Are you being evicted because of failure to pay rent? If you have a lease, paying the outstanding debt may help stop the process of eviction entirely. If you have a tenancy at will, paying the outstanding debt will have different results depending on your prior payment history and the landlord's previous notices. 

Are there any physical issues that affect the habitability of the property? Examples of issues include, but are not limited to, problems with the heating system, water damage, broken appliances, unfinished reparations, leaks, animal infestation, and mold. If you have any of these problems with your property or another that affects your living conditions, call your local Housing Division and request an inspection of the property.
Boston - Inspectional Services, Housing Division, Tel: 617-635-5300; ISDhousing@cityofboston.gov
Cambridge - Inspectional Services, Housing Division, Tel: 617-349-6100

Relevant Documents

  • Lease document or rental agreement.
  • Any written notice from the landlord, housing authority and/or the court. 
  • An inspection report from the housing department.
  • Any written communication between you and your landlord.
  • Copy or evidence of maintenance requests.
  • Any evidence of payment of rent, for example, copies of checks or bank statements reflecting payments. 
  • Evidence of any advance payment for the security deposit, last month's rent or any other fee. 
  • If you receive any sort of rental subsidy, any documentation related to your subsidy. 

Contact

For any further questions and legal help in the procedures to evict your tenant, please contact our Boston or New Bedford office by phone or through this website and we will work to match you with an attorney. 


Disclaimer

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.