What to Do if Your Tenant Refuses to Leave

What to Do if Your Tenant Refuses to Leave

Renting out property can be an excellent source of income or a complete nightmare, depending on your tenants. While many tenants will dutifully abide by the rules and make your life as easy as possible, others are not quite as pleasant. These tenants may treat you with a lack of respect, fail to pay their rent, and damage your property. While these are all genuine concerns, perhaps the most disquieting tenants are those that refuse to leave your property altogether.

As a landlord, you have the right to evict your tenants if you see fit. However, tenants are also provided with a number of rights and freedoms under Massachusetts law, and it can be difficult to properly evict them if you are not aware of the specific laws that govern this process. If you go about this in the wrong way, you may even be held liable. This is why enlisting the help of a legal professional is always a solid plan, especially if your tenants are threatening legal action against you.

When Can You Evict a Tenant?

In Massachusetts, you can evict a tenant for a number of reasons. The first and most obvious reason is if your tenant simply is not paying their rent. In this case, landlords must give their tenants a 14-day notice after they have failed to pay their rent. You can also evict tenants for breaching their lease agreement. Of course, this all depends on the specific lease agreement, as you may have included specific conditions such as no pets, no smoking, no parties, etc. In most cases, you will need to give your tenant a seven-day notice after they have violated their lease.

How Long Does the Eviction Process Take?

The first step in the eviction process is to serve your tenants with something called a notice to quit, which is essentially a document that informs them that their tenancy is over. If the tenant still refuses to leave, you can then file an eviction case with the court.

Unfortunately, there are many legal steps a tenant can take in order to stay in your property long after you have begun the eviction process. Even if the tenant does not contest the eviction, the entire legal process can take up to two months to complete. In the case of a contested eviction (when your tenants fight your eviction in court), the process could drag on for up to six months. In this case, your tenants may request a lengthy jury trial, and this is why it is important to enlist the help of a legal professional.

Getting Legal Help

Sometimes the best option is to simply get help from an attorney with expert knowledge of landlord/tenant laws in Massachusetts. This is an especially smart move if your tenants are taking advantage of certain legal loopholes, and you are not sure how to make the legal system work in your favor. If you want your tenants out of your property and they are refusing to leave, reach out to the Law Offices of Johnson, Sclafani & Moriarty, located in West Springfield. We will help you take back what is rightfully yours. 413-732-8356