Use this legal information to take action and find resources to protect your housing.
Does the national eviction moratorium protect me?
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) national moratorium stops landlords from evicting some tenants who cannot keep up with rent. The moratorium has been extended. If you qualify, your landlord is not allowed to evict you until after June 30, 2021. Find out if you qualify for the national CDC moratorium.
In addition, some cities and towns have local eviction protections.
What can I do if my landlord gives me a Notice to Quit?
Speak with a lawyer.
You do not have to move out by the date on the notice, even if the notice to quit says you must “vacate” or leave by a certain date. But after that date passes, your landlord can take you to court.
If your landlord is evicting you for non-payment of rent, your landlord must send you a special form with the Notice to Quit.
If your landlord does not give you this form, it is against the law for them to file a non-payment eviction case in court. If your landlord files a case in court, they must also file this sworn statement that they gave you this form.
TAKE ACTION – If your landlord did not give you this form, contact a lawyer for help. You may be able to stop your eviction.
What can I do if my landlord filed an eviction case for non-payment and I applied for rental assistance?
If you apply for rental assistance, the court must pause your case until after the rental assistance agency decides to approve or deny your application. The court cannot order an eviction while your case is paused. This pause in your case is called a “continuance”.
TAKE ACTION – Find legal help in your area.
What can I do if I get a “Summons and Complaint” from my landlord?
A Summons and Complaint means your landlord is taking you to court to evict you. Do not ignore it. Courts are now hearing cases over the phone or through Zoom video calls.
Make sure the court knows your side of the story. File this form with the court.
TAKE ACTION – Find legal help in your area.
What can I do if my landlord locks me out of my apartment?
Your landlord is breaking the law if they move your belongings out of your apartment, change your locks, shut off your utilities, or interfere in any way with your use of your apartment. Learn more about your rights.
TAKE ACTION – If your landlord locks you out or turns off your heat, call the court right away.
What can I do if I am worried about the condition of my apartment?
In Massachusetts, the state sanitary code gives tenants the right to decent housing.
TAKE ACTION – Learn about the conditions your apartment must meet by using the Housing Code Checklist.
What can I do if I get to a Zoom court hearing and I do not have a lawyer?
Many Housing Courts have free lawyers and paralegals that can help you. You can ask to talk to them in a Zoom “breakout room” before mediation, or at any point in the process.
TAKE ACTION – Ask for a lawyer as soon as you speak with court staff.
Where can I learn more about evictions in Massachusetts?
The eviction process is complicated. It is important to know your rights and the laws.
TAKE ACTION – Find practical information with sample forms and letters at MassLegalHelp.
Am I an owner-occupant?
You are an owner-occupant if you own and live in your home and rent part of it out to tenants.
What can I do if I am having trouble paying my mortgage because of the COVID-19 pandemic?
You may be able to get help paying your mortgage. Through the state’s RAFT and ERMA programs, you may be able to get up to $10,000 to make mortgage payments. You can use this money to pay for overdue or future mortgage payments.
TAKE ACTION – Learn more about state mortgage assistance from the regional housing agency in your area.
What can I do to avoid foreclosure?
If you are concerned about making your mortgage payments, contact your mortgage servicer right away. The mortgage servicer is the company you send your monthly payment to. Their telephone number and mailing address should be on your monthly mortgage statement. They may be willing to make your monthly payment more affordable. The earlier you talk to them, the better your chances are of working out a solution. Missed payments can cause late fees and other fees.
What can I do if I have a dispute with my tenant?
If you are having a dispute with a tenant, you can try mediation, legal help, or both. Mediation can help you work out an agreement with your tenant before you go to court. Some local organizations offer free mediation. You may also be eligible for free legal help to avoid court or help you through the eviction process.
TAKE ACTION – Find your local Community Mediation Center.
What can I do if my tenant loses their job and cannot pay their rent?
If you own less than 20 apartments, you can apply for rental assistance for your tenants through the state’s RAFT or ERMA programs. You need to work with your tenants before you apply. Check if your tenant’s income is low enough for RAFT or ERMA.