A. Summons and complaint
For summary process cases filed subsequent to the expiration of St. 2020, c. 65 (An Act Providing for a Moratorium on Evictions and Foreclosures During the COVID-19 Emergency), plaintiffs shall not provide a trial date on the summary S&C but rather should indicate on the S&C that the trial date is “to be determined by the court” or “TBD by the court.”2 The S&C will inform the parties that the court will notify them of the date, time, and manner of the court event.
B. Affidavit of compliance
For any residential summary process case that includes a claim based on the nonpayment of rent to be accepted and entered on or after January 25, 2021, the S&C, and any other documentation required under Uniform Summary Process Rule 2(d),3 shall be accompanied by a completed “Affidavit of Compliance with Section 1(a) of Chapter 257 of the Acts of 2020” (Affidavit of Compliance).4 As provided in St. 2020, c. 257 § 1(a) (An Act Providing for Eviction Protections During the COVID-19 Pandemic Emergency) any notice to quit served on or after December 31, 2020 must be accompanied by the form developed by the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (EOHD) pursuant to St. 2020, c. 257 § 1(a).5
C. Case management conference
In both pending and new summary process cases, the court will notify the parties of the date and time of the first court event, which shall be a judicial case management conference (CMC), and may occur on any day of the week. The CMC will allow the court to inform the parties regarding the availability of, and explore the parties’ interest in, mediation, the availability of assistance with housing costs, establish stipulations, narrow the factual and legal issues to be addressed at trial, schedule urgent or dispositive motions to minimize delay, and establish discovery deadlines tailored to the specific case.
D. CDC affidavit for executions for nonpayment of rent claims
Any application for an execution in any residential summary process action that includes a claim for nonpayment of rent, shall be accompanied by an affidavit (CDC Affidavit) indicating whether the plaintiff has received a Declaration from the tenant under the Order6 issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC Order).7 Any execution whose terms indicated it was stayed through December 31, 2020 shall be further stayed until the expiration of the CDC Eviction Moratorium.
E. Case priority
Cases will generally be scheduled based on the order in which they were filed.
Unless an extension of time is requested, an Answer to a summary process complaint shall be due no later than three business days prior to the date of the CMC.
A motion for a continuance shall be granted in any summary process case where the court determines that the requirements of St. 2020, c. 257 § 2(b) are met. Also, as provided for in St. 2020, c. 257 § 2(b) 1) during such a continuance, the court may consider any meritorious counterclaim and 2) in the event the court determines a continuance is required by St. 2020, c. 257 § 2(b), no judgment shall enter, nor execution shall issue, until a decision on any pending rental assistance application has been made. Additionally, if a case is referred to mediation, the case may be continued for a further CMC. The court may also, at the request of the parties or at its discretion, continue any case for any reason if doing so will assist the parties with resolving the dispute. If the case is not referred to mediation or an agreement is not reached, and a bench trial is requested, the case will be continued for a bench trial date no sooner than two weeks after the CMC. All jury trial requests will be scheduled pursuant to the jury trial standing order.
H. Defaults and dismissals
Failure to appear at the first CMC will not result in entry of a default or dismissal of the case. Instead, the case will be scheduled for a bench trial no sooner than two weeks following the date of the case management conference. Where a party wishes to serve a discovery demand on the opposing party but has failed to appear at the CMC, the party must, by motion, obtain approval of the Court to serve such demand.
I. Transfers to Housing Court
Pursuant to Uniform Summary Process Rule 4, any request for a transfer of the action under shall be filed in both courts no later than the day before the commencement of any trial.