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March 29, 2017

Illegal Tenant Activities Can Expedite Tenant Evictions

When tenants engage in illegal activities, it is logical that landlords want to immediately remove them from the premises to protect their property and the safety of other tenants. Even in these cases, however, landlords must go to court and follow a specific legal process.

While Massachusetts has specific laws that helps landlords expedite the eviction proceedings in these cases to some degree, those time-savings can quickly erode if tenants also face criminal charges. A skilled Boston tenant eviction lawyer can make a potential difference to landlords who want to get problem tenants out as soon as possible.

MA Nuisance Law Drives the Eviction Process

When landlords suspect that certain criminal activities are taking place within rental units, they can typically waive the normal Notice to Quit requirement and move straight to filing a summary process (eviction) case with the courts. This option is available for specific nuisances, which are defined within the Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 139, Section 19. The following are just some of the activities that apply to this law:

  • Prostitution
  • Lewdness
  • Illegal gaming,
  • Illegally keeping or selling alcoholic beverages
  • Illegally keeping, selling or manufacturing controlled substances
  • Illegally keeping a weapon that violates MA law as well as possessing or using an explosive or incendiary device

While it might seem fair to permit landlords to instantly remove offenders from the premises, MA law is written to provide tenants with ample protection of their rights. Unless they have already been convicted of a crime, expect them to have any number of defenses that might stop or delay an eviction.

Tenant Defenses Still Apply

Without the requirement to provide a Notice to Quit to tenants, landlords shave time off of the process (typically 14 days). However, once tenants receive the Summary Process Summons and Complaint, the law provides them with the full time that is normally permitted to answer.

As with any other eviction cases, the courts can stop evictions when tenants present reasonable defenses. Additionally, tenants who are also subject to criminal proceedings can request the right to delay eviction until their cases have been decided in criminal court.

Without experience in issues like these, landlords should strongly consider seeking support from an attorney who has worked on cases like these — and knows the best ways to help ensure that they are handled as quickly and efficiently as possible. Call The Law Offices of Shaun A. Hannafin at (617) 848-4572 for knowledgeable support.

Posted in Landlord-Tenant Information