Eviction for Tenants

Learn about responding to an eviction, and what may happen before and after an eviction court case.

An eviction is the process of obtaining a court order to remove a tenant and other occupants from a rental property. The landlord or owner can evict someone from his or her property after receiving a court order. The tenant, who is renting the property from the landlord, and any other occupants can be evicted.

In Massachusetts, it is illegal for a landlord, on his or her own, to remove tenants and occupants and their belongings from a rented apartment, room, or home without first getting a court order. The court case that a landlord files to get a court order is called summary process (the legal term for an eviction). The court order that allows a landlord to evict a tenant is called an execution. Even after a landlord gets an execution, only a sheriff or constable can move a tenant and his or her belongings out of the property.