I got a notice to quit. What do I do?
In Massachusetts, a landlord must send a tenant a Notice to Quit before the landlord can file a summary process (eviction) action. The Notice to Quit is a legal document that formally notifies the tenant that the tenancy will be terminated on a specific date. A Notice to Quit is not an order to leave your apartment on the date of the lease termination.
NOTE: IF YOU RECEIVE A NOTICE TO QUIT YOU DO NOT NEED TO IMMEDIATELY LEAVE YOUR UNIT. YOU ARE ENTITLED TO A LEGAL PROCEEDING IN WHICH YOU CAN DEFEND AGAINST THE EVICTION. ONLY A COURT ORDER CAN FORCE YOU TO LEAVE YOUR UNIT.
If you have received a Notice to Quit for nonpayment of rent, do not ignore or discard it. You should immediately contact your landlord to try to work out a payment plan. Legal Resource Finder will connect you to information for legal aid programs, nonprofits, government agencies, and court programs that may be able to help you with your legal issue for free or at a low cost. You can then contact your local Housing Consumer Education Center to learn if you are eligible for rental assistance.
You are strongly urged to consider contacting your local Housing Consumer Education Center (“HCEC”). Each HCEC has a Special Housing counselor that can help connect you to resources, information, and services. The HCECs are regional, therefore you should contact the HCEC closest to your home address.
Additional Links and Resources
- “Respond to an eviction against you”
- This webpage provides information on tenant rights and requirements during the eviction process and outlines the procedure for responding to an eviction.
- “Eviction for Tenants”
- This webpage provides information and resources for tenants related to each step of the eviction process. The webpage also has information on obtaining legal help and other assistance with an eviction.
- “Court forms for eviction”
- This webpage provides fillable court forms for tenants to use in responding to evictions.
- “Learn about Court Service Centers”
- This webpage provides general information about the Commonwealth’s Court Service Centers. The Centers are available to all court users without legal representation. There are no income or immigration status requirements to access the Centers.
- NOTE: The Court Service Center locations are closed to the public until further notice due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but remote services are available via Zoom Meeting for emergency cases. See “Important Update About Court Service Centers” for information on remote access to the Centers during COVID.