Massachusetts law about eviction

Laws, regulations, cases, and web sources on eviction law (summary process).

Legal help is available.

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Table of Contents

Best bets

Eviction for landlords and Eviction for tenants, Mass. Trial Court.
Guides you through evictions in Massachusetts.

Eviction basics and Notices to Quit, Mass. Legal Help, 2024.
Answers common questions about the eviction process and notices to quit.

Housing court resources, Mass. Housing Court.  
Web-based version of the Civil informational sheet, which provides concise information on procedures of the Housing Court. Page also includes downloadable PDFs of civil informational sheets for each regional court division.

Legal tactics, 8th ed., Annette R. Duke, editor, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, 2017 (2021 updates).
Just about the best book written on Massachusetts tenants' rights, Chapter 12 covers evictions. Includes forms.

Legal assistance

Eviction legal services and mediation, Mass. Dept. of Housing and Community Development.
Available to both tenants and landlords to preserve tenancy.

Massachusetts legal resource finder, Legal Services Corp.
Information for legal aid offices, government agencies and court programs that may be able to help you for free or at low cost.

Volunteer Lawyers Project
They will try to find a volunteer attorney to discuss your case with you.

Massachusetts laws

Primary eviction law

MGL c. 239 Summary process for possession of land (eviction)

  • New section: § 15 Courts shall grant a continuance for those who are facing eviction due to financial hardship and have an application pending for emergency rental assistance (Added by St. 2023, c. 28, § 64, approved August 9, 2023.)

Other Massachusetts laws relating to eviction

MGL c. 121B, § 32 Evictions, local housing authorities

MGL c. 139, § 19 Use of premises for illegal activities, voiding of lease

MGL c. 184, § 18 Forcible entry forbidden

MGL c. 186, § 11 Determination of lease for nonpayment of rent 

MGL c. 186, § 11A Termination of lease for nonpayment of rent

MGL c. 186, § 12 Notice to determine estate at will

MGL c. 186, § 13 Recovery of possession after termination of tenancy at will

MGL c. 186, § 13A Tenants deemed to be at will upon foreclosure

MGL c. 186, § 14 Quiet enjoyment violation

MGL c. 186A Tenants in foreclosed properties

Massachusetts regulations

105 CMR 410 State sanitary code - minimum standards of fitness for human habitation

940 CMR 3.00 General regulation

  • 940 CMR 3.17(5) Unfair and deceptive acts by landlord

Federal laws and regulations

Laws

34 U.S.C. § 12491 Housing protections for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking

42 U.S.C. § 1437f Low-income housing assistance  

42 U.S.C. §§ 13601-13644 Residency and service requirements in federally assisted housing 

50 U.S.C. § 3951 Evictions and distress (Relates to active servicemembers)

PL 111-22 An act to prevent mortgage foreclosures and enhance mortgage credit availability
Defines homelessness to include one who has received an eviction notice, 42 U.S.C. 11302.

Regulations

24 CFR 247 Evictions from certain subsidized and HUD-owned projects

Court rules

Forms

Selected cases

Web sources

Apply for EA emergency family shelter, Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities.
Learn how to apply for shelter if you are pregnant or have children under 21 years old.

Emergency Assistance (EA) advocacy guide: A guide to emergency shelter and re-housing services for families with children experiencing homelessness in Massachusetts, Mass. Law Reform, October 2023.
This online book includes eligibility, placement, disability, language access, appeals, and extensive contact information.

Eviction process in Massachusetts: Rules for landlords and property managers, Nolo.com.
Eviction storage. "If the tenant does not move out of the rental unit and a law enforcement officer has to remove the tenant as part of the eviction, then the law enforcement officer will also remove the tenant's belongings and place them in storage. This will be done at the landlord's expense, but the landlord can try to get reimbursement from the tenant. The storage facility will need to hold onto the property for six months before disposing of it. If the property has value, then it can be sold."

Housing appeals guide, Mass. Appeals Court.
This guide explains the process of getting an appeal from the trial court into the Appeals Court. If you are looking to stop an imminent eviction, skip down to Staying execution on a judgment.

Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT), Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities.
This program provides short-term emergency rental assistance and funding to help you with foreclosure, loss of utilities, and other housing emergencies.

Tenant at sufferance
A tenant at sufferance is not entitled to a notice to quit (Margosian v. Markarian, 288 Mass. 197 (1934)), but is entitled to sufficient time to remove his property (Lash v. Ames, 171 Mass. 487 (1898)).

Tenant defenses to evictions in Massachusetts, Nolo.
Explains grounds for eviction as well as defenses.

Protecting yourself in an eviction, Mass. Legal Help.
The first of fifteen booklets on the eviction process for tenants, this one provides an overview of the steps required in representing yourself. Visit the main website for more translations of this booklet.

Print sources

Handbook of civil procedure in the Mass. District Court, 5th ed., by Marc G. Perlin, Lawyers Weekly, 2018, chapter 14.

The Massachusetts landlord survival guide, 9th ed. by Philip S. Lapatin, Greater Boston Real Estate Board, 2020.

Massachusetts landlord tenant law, 2nd ed., by George Warshaw, Lexis, with supplement (includes forms) Sample Notices to Quit at Forms 4-1 – 4-5[C].

Landlord and tenant law: with forms, 3rd edition, (Massachusetts practice, vol. 33A) West Group, 2000 with supplement, chapter 15. Sample Notices to Quit at sections 15:13 – 15:16.

Massachusetts real estate, 3rd ed., by Robert Marzelli, Lexis, with supplement (Includes forms). Sample Notices to Quit at Forms 102, 103.

Property management manual for Massachusetts rental owners, 6th ed., by H. John Fisher, HAPHousing, 2015.

Residential and commercial landlord-tenant practice in Massachusetts, MCLE, 4th ed., 2022. Chapter 11, Termination of residential tenancies, Sample Notices to Quit at Exhibits 11B - 11E, and notes to cases.

Residential landlord-tenant benchbook, Flaschner Judicial Institute, 2013.

Contact   for Massachusetts law about eviction

Last updated: May 31, 2024

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