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Eviction Process - Failing to Pay Rent

The failure to pay rent is one of the most common reasons for landlords to take legal action to evict a tenant. In the state of Massachusetts a landlord cannot remove a tenant without a court order. The eviction process begins with the landlord sending the tenant a “Notice to Quit” the tenancy. When the landlord is attempting to evict a tenant for the non-payment of rent, the landlord is required to send the tenant a 14-day Notice to Quit. The landlord must then wait 14 days after the notice to quit has been served on the tenant before he or she can commence an action in court. It is important to understand that the tenant does not have to vacate the property within the 14 day period. Additionally, if the tenant pays all of the rent owed, he or she may be able to stop an eviction that was filed on the grounds of non-payment.

Defenses Available

If a landlord initiates an eviction process against you for failing to pay your rent, you may be able to assert certain legal defenses. For instance, if the landlord fails to follow the proper procedures required to terminate the tenancy, the eviction case may be dismissed by the court.

Depending upon your situation, you may have other legal defenses available, including poor rental conditions. If conditions in your apartment violate the Massachusetts State Sanitary Code and the landlord is aware of the violations and fails to take action to correct these conditions, you may have a valid defense against the eviction action. When a tenant is dealing with bad housing conditions, we recommend that the tenant contact the Board of Health to conduct an inspection of the property and prepare a certified inspection report. This report will officially document the conditions of the property and is the best way to prove that the landlord has violated the State Sanitary Code.

Additionally, if your landlord has collected a security deposit from you and is not following the laws and regulations governing the handling and safeguarding of security deposits, you may be able to claim the failure as a defense to your non-payment of rent.   If you are facing an eviction for the failure to pay rent, it is always best to seek the advice of an experienced Boston landlord lawyer who can review your case, identify available defenses and guide you through the process.

Discuss Your Case with an Experienced Tenant Lawyer

If your landlord is trying to evict you for failing to pay your rent, the Law Offices of Shaun A. Hannafin can help. We are a Boston area law firm with extensive experience handling landlord-tenant issues and disputes. When you come to our firm for your initial consultation we encourage you to bring copies of all documents related to your case, including your lease and any written or email correspondence you may have had with your landlord. If you are dealing with poor rental conditions and have photographs or video footage of the conditions, you should also bring these items to your appointment. During your meeting we will review these materials and answer any questions that you may have about your case and the legal process in general.

The Law Offices of Shaun A. Hannafin is here to help you understand what is happening and to help resolve the situation with your landlord as quickly as possible. Call 617-848-4572 today to schedule your free consultation.

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"Shaun helped me to resolve my tenant-landlord case successfully. His advises were reasonable and appropriate. I'm pleased with the cooperation."