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What You Should Know About Massachusetts Eviction Laws

It's a lot easier to threaten eviction than to actually evict someone. If your landlord is threatening to throw you out or lock you out of your apartment, you should know that Massachusetts eviction laws require your landlord to have a court order and follow a specific procedure to actually carry out the threat.

First, landlords can only evict you for certain reasons and only after they've given you specific notice of the eviction. For example, if you fail to pay rent, your landlord must give you a 14-day notice to quit the lease and give you an opportunity to repay the rent you owe.

After the notice period has passed, your landlord then must deliver to you a "Summary Process and Complaint." This officially informs you that the landlord is taking legal action against you and states the date of eviction.

You will have an opportunity to answer the complaint. This is where you state the reasons for why you should not be evicted and where you have a chance to make counterclaims against your landlord. For example, you can argue that you have not been paying rent because your landlord violated your right to a healthy apartment.

Only after you lose the case, and exhaust all appeals, will a judge execute an eviction order. To legally evict you, a landlord must have this order.

The eviction process can be lengthy and costly. Massachusetts eviction laws protect tenants, but they are complicated. Landlords must jump through many hoops to evict you, and you may want the help of an attorney if you face eviction.

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