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Learn about what may happen after an eviction hearing

Get information on when and how to remove a tenant.

Stay of execution

A "stay of execution" means that the court has postponed the eviction. When a tenant is evicted for reasons that were not the tenant's fault, a judge may grant a stay of execution for up to 6 months to give a tenant time to find a new place to live, or for other reasons. If the tenant is disabled or over 60, the stay can be up to to 12 months.

If the judge granted a stay of execution, then you need to wait until that postponement period has ended before you can have your tenant removed.

Removing the tenant

Request an execution from the clerk’s office

The court order that allows a landlord to evict a tenant is called an “execution.”

If the landlord wins the summary process case and is awarded a judgment against the tenant, the tenant has 10 days from the date that the clerk’s office enters judgment to file an appeal. If the judgment didn’t include a stay of the execution, the landlord can prepare and send a written request for the execution to the clerk’s office on the 11th day. If there was a stay, you need to wait until the stay period has ended.  The execution is the document that authorizes the actual eviction. The landlord can’t evict the tenant without the help of a constable or sheriff, who must give 48 hours written notice to the tenant before the actual eviction can take place.

Even after a landlord gets an execution, only a sheriff or constable can move a tenant and their belongings out of the property.

When can the constable or sheriff use the execution to move my tenant out of the dwelling?

The execution can be used to move a tenant from the premises only on a weekday (Monday through Friday) between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., not on Saturday, Sunday, or a legal holiday when the court is closed.

Can the execution in a summary process case expire?

Yes. The execution must be used within 3 months. The monetary part of the execution is valid for 20 years.

After I have removed my tenant from the property, how do I collect the money I was awarded in the judgment?

You may have the sheriff use the summary process execution to levy against non-exempt assets. You may want to consult an attorney before you begin this process. You may be able to serve and file a post-judgment motion for payment or for trustee process against a third party, such as an employer holding wages. Otherwise, supplementary process under G.L. c. 224 (not to be confused with summary process under G.L. c. 239) is available. You should consult the clerk’s office where the summary process case was heard to determine the best procedure to follow in your case.

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