Welcome to Boston Eviction Law. We know that facing an eviction in court can be confusing and stressful – and if you do it wrong it can be expensive for both landlords and tenants.
This FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) and the other resources on this site were put together to provide you with answers to the basic questions that Landlord/Tenant attorneys get asked over and over. With guidance you can often avoid many of the common mistakes in the eviction process.
What is Summary Process?
Summary Process is the technical name for eviction cases in Massachusetts. The Rules for an eviction case are shorter (summary) and the process is different than for other types of cases. The Summary Process Rules are available online. You can call the case either a Summary Process case or an Eviction case, the court will understand what you mean using either term.
What court paperwork does the Landlord need to start the case?
The landlord first has to terminate the tenancy. This usually requires a document called a Notice To Quit. After the tenancy has been terminated the landlord can have a Summons and Complaint served on the on the tenants. The Summons and Complaint forms are available at the Court. The landlord must have the Summons and Complaint served properly. If the Landlord does not terminate the tenancy or does not properly fill out or serve the Summons and Complaint then the eviction case can be dismissed by the court.
What paperwork does the Tenant need to file with the court?
A document called an Answer should be filed by the Tenant in an eviction case. It is not required but it gives the tenant an opportunity to tell their version of the story to the court. The Answer is also the Tenant’s opportunity to raise any issues or problems that they have had with the apartment or landlord. A free Answer form is available online.
Tenants should also fill out the Discovery form. Discovery lets you ask your landlord questions about the case and your tenancy and request documents that you might need to defend yourself or prove your case in court. A free Discovery form is available online.