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What are the laws regarding a landlord kicking tenants out in MA?

Having a dispute with a tenant or landlord? Rental Law discussion

What are the laws regarding a landlord kicking tenants out in MA?

Postby torin7 » Thu May 31, 2012 7:49 pm

I have been hearing a lot of different things from a lot of different people so I'm just curious to know. What are the reasons that a landlord can kick a tenant out in MA, and also are there any laws that protect pregnant women from being evicted or forcibly removed from their homes? Also, is it true that a tenant has the right to remain on the property for 6 months without paying rent, and without utilities being cut off, if their landlords try to evict them? I have a family member that went through this in Puerto Rico, and they were unable to remove the tenants from their property due to some law that protected them for 6 months so I'm curious to know if that applies in MA?
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What are the laws regarding a landlord kicking tenants out in MA?

Postby gobrwy » Thu May 31, 2012 8:05 pm

There are NO such laws in Massachusetts. In MA, a landlord can evict a tenant if the tenant violates the terms of the lease contract, including late rent payments and other possible violations. There are NO laws which protect 'pregnant women'. Such are treated the same as are other tenants. The notion of being legally allowed to occupy the premises for six months with no rent paid is ludicrous. NO such laws exist.

I am not familiar with laws in Puerto Rico, but there are no such laws in MA.
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What are the laws regarding a landlord kicking tenants out in MA?

Postby adare » Thu May 31, 2012 8:13 pm

By state law in MA you can be evicted for non-payment of rent, violating the lease terms and failure to cure the violation after being given notice of the violation and a reasonable time to cure the violation, or so that the landlord can retake possession of the unit at expiration of the lease if you refuse to leave. A tenant at will must vacate with 30 days written notice spanning one full rental period. The landlord can commence eviction proceedings if the tenant refuses to leave.

In the dead of winter, the judge presiding at the eviction hearing *may* give a tenant with small children a little extra time to move before being evicted forcibly by the county sheriff. That's at the judge's discretion but won't be six months and will not be rent-free regardless of how much additional time the judge allows.

Some local communities may have more restrictive eviction rules. Cambridge is notorious for being excessively "tenant friendly" but this has tended to drive rents sky high to compensate. Cambridge may also allow squatters to remain for an unreasonably long period of time if the landlord has violated any of the rules on evictions, but will order them to pay rent while the case is pending. It can also be notoriously difficult for a landlord to recover simple possession (as long as rent is being paid) unless they are going to place a family member in the rental unit. And tenants can fight what they deem to be "excessive" rent increases even in apartments that are not rent controlled. Tenants can also fight change of use, such as reconversion of a large multi-unit home back to single-family configuration.
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What are the laws regarding a landlord kicking tenants out in MA?

Postby tredway » Thu May 31, 2012 8:18 pm

Boston covers most of this, but missed your additional question.

Someone with a lease can only be evicted for non-payment or violating the lease before it expires. Someone at will, or with an expired lease can also be evicted for Failure to Vacate, which simply means refusing to leave.
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What are the laws regarding a landlord kicking tenants out in MA?

Postby bedyw25 » Thu May 31, 2012 8:22 pm

You can be evicted as quickly as the landlord follows the steps he needs to take. Some landlords don't go through the necessary notices rapidly, so that can take a while to get someone out.

Being pregnant is not their concern. You can't live in a place if you don't pay rent.

I have evicted people in as little as 40 days. I gave a 3 day notice to pay or quit. If they didn't pay, they got a 30 day notice to vacate. I got a court date the minute I served the 30 day notice. So, the day after the 30 day notice expired, we were in court. the judge says "you had 30 days to move and you didn't. Now you have 3 days to get out".

That's how it happens fast, but the landlord has to do all the right things in a timely way.
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