Landlord & Tenant Law – Evictions

Eviction – Generally 

A landlord may not unilaterally evict a tenant; he or she must follow the proper notification procedures and obtain a court order when attempting to evict a tenant.

Types of Tenancy 

If a tenant has a valid lease, usually referred to as a periodic tenant, the lease acts as a contract between the landlord and the tenant and usually expires on a specific date (generally one-year from the move-in date). If a tenant does not have signed lease, or if a tenant previously had a signed lease that expired but is still living in the space and paying rent, that tenant is considered a tenant-at-will.

Reasons for Eviction

In order to evict a tenant with a valid lease, a landlord must send valid notice and prove:

1) the tenant violated a term or terms of the lease;
2) the tenant failed to pay the agreed upon rent; and/or
3) the tenant was using the space for illegal purposes.

A landlord does not have to state any reason for wanting to evict a tenant-at-will in Massachusetts. However, he or she must still follow the proper notification procedure and obtain a court order to evict the tenant.

A landlord may not evict a tenant in retaliation for certain activities such as notifying the sanitation department or health department; withholding rent because of bad conditions; and/or taking legal action against the landlord. It is also illegal for a landlord to evict a tenant for discriminatory purposes such as race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, age, ancestry, marital status, handicap or status as a veteran.

And under no circumstances may a landlord perform any of the following acts without first obtaining permission from the court:

1) move tenant belongings out of the leased space;
2) change a tenant’s locks;
3) shut-off a tenant’s utilities; and/or
4) interfere with a tenant’s use of the leased space.

If you are looking for professional representation during an eviction, or you would like a more detailed explanation of the eviction process, please feel free to contact Mikowski & Leonard, LLC for a completely free consultation. Our attorneys have experience representing landlords and tenants in both Housing Court and District Court.

Contact our office today to find out how we can help you. Call 617-651-1150 or email us today to schedule your free, no obligation initial consultation.


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