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 July 31, 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.
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”.
What does it mean if my landlord is offering to pay back rent from a program called SHERA?
If you live in public or subsidized housing and you owe rent, help may be available. Your landlord can apply for rental assistance for you through a program called SHERA (Subsidized Housing Emergency Rental Assistance). You must give your landlord permission to apply. The state then pays the rental assistance directly to your landlord.
If SHERA pays back rent to your landlord, you will be protected against eviction for non-payment of rent for 6 months after the last SHERA payment. Immigrants can apply and do not need a social security number.
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.
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.
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.
What can I do if I have a Zoom court hearing but do not have a computer or internet access?
There are places you can go to use a free computer for your court hearing. There are also WiFi hotspots where you can use your own device to connect to Zoom.
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.
Where can I learn more about evictions in Massachusetts?
The eviction process is complicated. It is important to know your rights and the laws.