What are my rights as a tenant at will?

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What are my rights as a tenant at will?

My lease expired 07/31. I was informed by text message on 07/13 of my landlord’s intent to not renew my lease and I was given until 08/31 to vacate.

I have been searching for housing but cannot find a new rental due to the market, as well as a poor credit score. I have a family of 6, including 4 children and school starts in less than 3 weeks. My landlord claims that he wants the house for their personal use. What rights do we have?

Asked on August 13, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, when you don't have a still-in-effect (unexpired) written lease, your tenancy can be terminated on at least 30 days written notice. The notice must terminate your tenancy at th end of a month/begininng of a new month--so notice provided 7/13 when your lease expires (and no longer protects you) 7/31 will suffice to require you to leave by 8/31. If you don't leave by then, your landlord can bring an eviction action and will be able to remove you in a very few weeks. With a written lease for a definite or defined period of time, you basically can only remain there as long as the landlord wants you to, the same way that without a written lease for a set period of time, you can move out on 30 days notice without further obligation. There is no way to reliably stay past the 30 days notice without a written lease; while it's possible that the landlord will do something wrong in how they file the eviction case and will have to refile, that is just a temporary delay until they get the paperwork right. You have to plan that you need a new place in mid-late September, or early October at the earliest.


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