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October 31, 2017 |

Can My Landlord Evict Me for No Reason? Eviction Without Cause in Massachusetts

“A landlord can’t just convict me for no reason, can it?” The answer to that question is unfortunately “yes” if the tenant’s lease has already expired. The landlord is under no obligation to renew a lease or allow the tenant to remain.

However, the landlord is bound to the terms of a lease, and must have valid grounds to break that agreement. The landlord must also give notice to the tenant and obtain a court order. In other words, eviction is a legal process that allows both sides to be heard. Any tenant who faces eviction without cause should speak to an attorney.

When and Why Can a Landlord Evict in Massachusetts?

A Massachusetts landlord must go through the proper legal procedure to evict a tenant. If the lease has already expired, the landlord must give the tenant at least 30 days Notice to Quit that becomes effective at the start of the next month. Once the notice period has ended, the landlord can file a complaint for eviction of a tenant who remains on the premises. The landlord can state expiration of the lease as the reason for demanding the tenant vacate the premises.

If the tenant is still subject to the lease, the landlord must state grounds for bringing eviction proceedings, such as drug use, damage to the property or rent deficiencies. A judge will not order eviction unless a landlord can prove the grounds stated in the eviction Notice to Quit and the complaint.

The tenant can defend her position during a hearing. For example, a tenant accused of denying entry of the landlord might submit evidence of harassment by the landlord. The tenant may also have the opportunity to cure the defect, such as to pay all back rent and late fees.

Status of the Just Cause Eviction Law in Boston

Boston rents have exploded while wages remain relatively stagnant. As a result, many Bostonians are being forced out of homes they can no longer afford.

Landlords might give a reason for their decision to evict, but often for minor issues that didn’t warrant the drastic actions of losing one’s home. Typically the reason for eviction relates to excessive rent increases that the tenant could not or would not pay. Simply put, the landlord could get more money from another renter.

The Boston City Counsel approved the Jim Brooks Community Stabilization Act this October that would end no-fault evictions. If the Massachusetts Legislature approves Boston’s just-cause eviction law, landlords would have to prove one of the nine enumerated grounds for evicting tenants, which are:

  1. Failure to pay rent
  2. Violation of terms of the lease
  3. Destruction of the unit or nuisance complaints
  4. Unlawful conduct, including use of illicit drugs
  5. Refusal by tenant to renew or extend the lease
  6. Refusal of access to the landlord
  7. Unapproved sublease of the premises
  8. Housing needs of landlord’s family members
  9. Refusal of occupant to pay fair market rent upon foreclosure

The Massachusetts laws support tenants’ rights. Therefore, a tenant who has been evicted without cause should talk to Boston eviction defense lawyer immediately.

Posted in Landlord-Tenant Information

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