Learn about what may happen after an eviction hearing

Get information on removing the tenant and the stay of execution process for landlords.

Removing the tenant

If I win the summary process case and am awarded a judgment against my tenant, what is the procedure for having the tenant moved out of the dwelling?

If the court finds for the landlord, the tenant has 10 days from the date that the clerk’s office enters judgment to file an appeal. If the judgment did not include a stay of the execution, on the 11th day, the landlord can prepare and send a written request for the execution to the clerk’s office. The execution is the document that authorizes the actual eviction. The landlord cannot evict the tenant without the assistance of a constable or sheriff, who must give 48 hours written notice to the tenant before the actual eviction can take place.

Stay of execution

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.

Are there any restrictions on when the constable or sheriff can use the execution to move my tenant out of the dwelling?

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

Does the execution in a summary process case ever expire?

Yes. The execution must be used within 3 months to regain possession of the dwelling. The monetary portion 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. Also, 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. In the alternative, 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 in which the summary process case was heard to determine the best procedure to follow in your case.

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