Mass. General Laws c.239 § 3

Judgment and execution; costs; appeal

Table of Contents


  • Amended by St.2017, c. 6, § 201, effective March 27, 2017
  • Amended by St.2021, c.39, § 121, effective as soon as it has the force of law under subsection (c) of section 2 of Article LXXXVII of the Amendments to the Constitution.

Section 3

Except as hereinafter provided, if the court finds that the plaintiff is entitled to possession, he shall have judgment and execution for possession and costs, and, if rent is claimed as provided in section two and found due, the judgment and execution shall include the amount of the award. If the plaintiff becomes nonsuit or fails to prove his right to possession, the defendant shall have judgment and execution for costs.

At least forty-eight hours prior to serving or levying upon an execution issued on a judgment for the plaintiff for possession of land or tenements rented or leased for dwelling purposes, the officer serving or levying upon the execution shall give the defendant written notice that at a specified date and time he will serve or levy upon the execution and that at that time he will physically remove the defendant and his personal possessions from the premises if the defendant has not prior to that time vacated the premises voluntarily.

The notice shall contain (1) the signature, full name, full business address and business telephone number of the officer; (2) the name of the court and the docket number of the action; (3) a statement that the officer will place any personal property remaining on the premises at the time the execution is levied in storage at a licensed public warehouse, and the full name, full business address, and business telephone number of the warehouse to be used; (4) a statement that the warehouser's storage rates may be ascertained by contacting the commissioner of the division of occupational licensure and the address and telephone number of such agency; (5) a statement that the warehouser may sell at auction any property that is unclaimed after 6 months and may retain that portion of the proceeds necessary to compensate him for any unpaid storage fees accrued as of the date of the auction, except as provided in section 4; and (6) a statement that the defendant should notify the warehouser in writing at the business address listed in the notice of any change in the defendant's mailing address. The notice referred to in this section shall be served in the same manner as the summary process summons and complaint and shall be filed in the court that issued the execution.

The officer shall select the public warehouser identified in the notice described in the preceding paragraph in a manner calculated to ensure that the defendant's personal property will be stored within a reasonable distance of the premises at issue in the summary process action. The officer shall not select pursuant to this section a warehouser whom the officer knows or reasonably believes to be in violation of any provision of section 4.

No execution for possession of premises rented or leased for dwelling purposes shall be served or levied upon after five o'clock p.m. or before nine o'clock a.m., nor on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday.

If the underlying money judgment in any summary process action for nonpayment of rent in premises rented or leased for dwelling purposes has been fully satisfied, together with any use and occupancy accruing since the date of judgment, the plaintiff shall be barred from levying on any execution for possession that has issued and shall return the execution to the court fully satisfied. If no execution has issued, the plaintiff shall notify the court of the satisfaction of judgment and no execution shall issue thereafter. If the underlying money judgment has been fully satisfied and use and occupancy fully paid, the defendant shall be considered a lawful tenant and may enforce this right through judicial process, including injunctions barring the issuance of or levying upon the execution and motions to supersede or recall the execution. Notwithstanding this paragraph, the plaintiff shall not be required to accept full satisfaction of the money judgment. Any refusal by the plaintiff to accept full satisfaction of the money judgment under this paragraph shall not be a bar to the enforcement of said judgment in any lawful manner.

In case of appeal from the district court on either or both issues involved or on any counterclaim, the appeal shall be to the appellate division under section 5.



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Last updated: August 5, 2021