Use this legal information to take action and get the help you need to protect your housing.
Is there a national eviction moratorium?
On August 26, the U.S. Supreme Court ended the U.S. Centers for Disease for Control (CDC) national eviction moratorium.
If you get an eviction notice, you do not need to move out. Only a court can order you out of your home. Apply for rental assistance and legal aid.
What can I do if my landlord gives me a Notice to Quit?
You do not need to move out. A Notice to Quit says you must leave your apartment by a certain date, but you do not have to move out by the date on the notice. After that date passes, if your landlord wants to evict you, they must take you to court. It is illegal for a landlord to evict you without going to court.
Did my landlord send me the right form with a Notice to Quit?
If your landlord is evicting you for non-payment of rent, your landlord must send you a special form with the Notice to Quit. This form tells you what help you can get to stop an eviction.
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. You may be able to stop the eviction.
What can I do if I get a “Summons and Complaint” from my landlord?
Do not ignore it. You do not have to move out. A Summons and Complaint means your landlord is taking you to court to evict you.
As soon as you get a Summons and Complaint, fill out this form. Then file it with the court and send your landlord or your landlord’s lawyer a copy. This form will make sure the court knows your side of the story.
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 with your use of your apartment. Learn more about your rights.
What can I do if there are bad conditions in my apartment?
In Massachusetts, the state sanitary code gives tenants the right to decent housing. It is important to document what is wrong by taking pictures and telling your landlord about the problems.
Can my landlord evict me if I applied for rental assistance?
If you are being evicted for non-payment of rent and apply for any type of rental assistance, a court must pause your case until after the rental assistance agency approves or denies your application. The court cannot order an eviction while your case is paused.
For rental assistance, call 2-1-1 or find your local housing agency at www.masshousinginfo.org.
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.
Tell your landlord about any changes to your income between April 1, 2020 – March 31, 2021 before giving them permission to apply for SHERA, so that your landlord gets the amount of rental assistance right.
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 through Lawyer for the Day programs. You can ask to talk to them in a Zoom “breakout room” before mediation, or at any point in the process.
What can I do if I am being pressured to sign an agreement?
If your landlord offers you an agreement outside of court or in court mediation, get legal help. You do not have to sign anything.
Get legal advice before you sign any agreement with your landlord or their attorney. A landlord’s attorney represents the landlord, not you.
What can I do if my eviction is in District Court?
If your case is in District Court, you can transfer it to Housing Court where you can get more help.
What can I do if I receive a rent increase notice?
If you live in private housing that is not subsidized, your landlord can ask for as much rent as they want. You do not need to accept the increase. If you receive a rent increase notice, you can try to negotiate an affordable increase. You can join with other tenants to negotiate together. If you have a lease, a landlord cannot raise your rent during the lease.
Where can I learn more about evictions in Massachusetts?
The eviction process is complicated. It is important to know your rights and the laws.