I’m a Massachusetts landlord with a difficult tenant. I’ve given the tenant the proper Massachusetts termination notice, but he still won’t leave. What next? What is the Massachusetts eviction process?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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If you have already properly served the tenant with any one of the available Massachusetts termination notices and the tenant still will not leave, you may begin a lawsuit by filing a Summary Process Summons and Complaint form with the Massachusetts housing court (a department of the trial court). The tenant will be served with a copy of the summons by a sheriff or constable. At trial, after considering all the evidence brought by both you and the tenant, the judge will decide whom to grant possession of the property and what costs will be awarded. If the landlord wins, it will be 10 days before further action can be taken. During this time, the tenant may choose to appeal the decision. If the tenant does not leave the premises or appeal, the landlord may then request an execution, which will be good for 90 days. The execution, a document authorizing eviction, will be sent to the constable or sheriff who then must give the tenant 48-hour notice. If the landlord wishes to bring suit for anything other than eviction and/or nonpayment of rent, they must file through a small claims or civil action rather than in the housing court. If at any time in the eviction process you think things are getting out of your control, you can always seek out an experienced Massachusetts evictions attorney.

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