May 26, 2017
Tenants Have Special Rights in No-Fault Evictions
Non-payment of rent is probably the most common reason why tenants are evicted, followed by other situations in which tenants are at fault. Still, tenants need to understand that they cannot avoid evictions that happen solely to meet landlord or other needs. These are known as no-fault evictions, and they are allowed under MA law.
To help secure all rights, tenants need to understand how MA law addresses their rights in no-fault evictions — and how an experienced Boston eviction defense lawyer can help.
Handling No-Fault Evictions
Even the most perfect tenants can face eviction through no fault of their own. For example, landlords may need the premises for other purposes, such as providing a dwelling for their relatives. The initial process is basically the same for any type of eviction once tenants receive a summary process and complaint. It begins by answering the summary process complaint in writing and going to court. However, tenants have an important option when facing no-fault evictions.
That option pertains to extending the timing of the move. Assuming that an eviction order has been finalized by the court after tenants have filed any appeals, landlords can enlist a constable to execute the move relatively quickly for fault-based evictions. Tenants being evicted in no-fault evictions, however, can extend the date by filing a stay of proceedings, which gives them more time to move.
Assuming that Judges grant a stay, they have certain latitude when determining the new required move-out date, but the law sets the maximum based primarily on two possible sets of circumstances:
- Six-month maximum stays are issued under most circumstances because this amount of extra time is generally deemed reasonable by law.
- Twelve-month maximum stays are allowed based on special tenant circumstances, such as if one or more occupants are handicapped or older than age 60.
These are the most common sets of guidelines, but the prescribed length of a maximums can vary based on certain circumstances.
Without Compelling Reasons, Judges can Reject Stays
It may not seem fair, but even when tenants bear no fault for their evictions, they eventually have to move out. The real question is whether or not they will have enough time to find good new dwellings, pack and make moving arrangements. When requesting a stay of proceedings, it is vital to create a case that compels judges to grant the stay and allow sufficient time for the move.
It is likely that most landlords will come to court with legal representation that is prepared to argue against a stay. Tenants are best positioned to prevail when they enlist representation from a skilled eviction defense lawyer.
Even if you have done nothing to deserve eviction, it makes sense to schedule some time with a knowledgeable attorney who understands the law and can explain your legal options.
Posted in Landlord-Tenant Information