If you are a landlord in Boston, you need to thoroughly understand eviction laws when you need a tenant to vacate your property. Boston eviction law is considered to be relatively friendly toward tenants, but there are strategies that allow you to legally evict. Here is what you need to know about eviction laws in Boston.
Serving a Notice to Quit
Evictions can be frustrating and can present legal problems if not done properly. The first step is serving a Notice to Quit to your tenant, outlining the reason for the eviction. There are many legal reasons to proceed with an eviction, including nonpayment of rent and just cause evictions, among others.
Nonpayment of Rent
In situations involving nonpayment of rent, you are required to provide 14-days notice for the tenant to vacate your property. You may not create a rental lease that waives this notice requirement, as such a rental agreement provision is not legal in Boston. Nonpayment of rent is the most common reason for evictions in Boston.
Just Cause Evictions
Many evictions may result from bad behavior from tenants, including breaking the lease terms, destroying property, or committing crimes while inside the residence.
Other Reasons for Eviction
There are other reasons you might want to evict a tenant. Usually, these are referred to as no-fault evictions, and they require 30-days notice to evict. If you want to live in the residence yourself, demolish the property, or sell it, you have valid grounds to move forward with an eviction, but it might require more time than nonpayment and just cause evictions.
A Notice to Quit isn't a legally binding eviction. If the notice period expires without your tenant vacating, you have to go to court. In situations where a lease has expired, you do not have to provide a reason for evicting your tenant. The tenant is simply required to leave according to the date stipulated in the lease. If the tenant doesn't move out, you can skip the Notice to Quit and move straight to obtaining a court order for eviction.
Serving Your Notice
In Boston, you can serve the eviction notice yourself. However, many landlords opt to use a third party to serve the eviction for them. Some opt for certified mail, but this is likely not the best route as it is sometimes difficult to prove the tenant actually received your Notice to Quit. Perhaps the most secure route is to ensure a sheriff delivers the Notice to Quit, as this prevents your tenant from claiming he did not receive it.
Moving Forward With an Eviction
The Notice to Quit is only the first part of the eviction process. If your tenant refuses to depart after the notice is served, the next step is a summons and complaint in Boston Municipal Court or in Boston Housing Court requesting a court order to move forward with your eviction. Your tenant may appeal your eviction and take other legal actions to try to delay it. Your tenant has the right to file for discovery, an action giving the tenant access to documents and other information from you. This is likely to delay the eviction process by at least two weeks. If you have a valid legal reason for your eviction, you will eventually get your tenant to vacate your property.
During the Eviction
If you have concerns about the eviction process, be sure to have a sheriff oversee the eviction, especially if your tenant has a history of violence or threats against you. Also, document any damage you find in the apartment if your tenant decided to take his anger out on your personal property.
Boston has a structured and formalized way to move forward with evictions, and it’s important to familiarize yourself with these specific procedures. No landlord enjoys the eviction process, but protecting yourself and your property is necessary in many situations.
Please note: These articles are for informational purposes and we advise you to consult an attorney for more specific information related to your situation.
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