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NOTICE TO LANDLORD
Enclosed please find your original Summary Process Summons and Complaint. Service has been made on your behalf as detailed in the Return of Service on the reverse of the form. In order for this return to be valid, you must file this document at the court of jurisdiction no later than the "entry date" which is printed on the top of each side of the form. The writ must be in the hands of the court no later than the close of business on that day, in the following manner:
Original Summons & Complaint form (embossed court seal, lower left)
Copy of original Notice to Quit
Acceptable proof of service of Notice to Quit
Filing fee payment of $195.00, check payable to the Court
You must also appear at court on the hearing date specified, or the claim will be dismissed. At that hearing, the tenant will likely be given ten days to surrender the property, particularly if he should fail to appear. At the expiration of that ten-day period, should the tenant remain, the Court will issue an "Execution for Possession" and/or "Money Damages". Upon receipt of the Execution for Possession, this office will be empowered to have the tenant removed from the premises by whatever means necessary.
Self-help evictions by landlords, by changing locks or removing a tenant's property, are not allowed under Massachusetts’s law. A tenant can be evicted only if a landlord goes to court and gets an eviction order by filing what is called a "summary process" action.
A tenant who has been injured by a self-help eviction may be entitled to damages. Those damages could include moving costs, higher rent for another apartment, the value of possessions lost when the tenant was locked out and return of the balance of the last month's rent or security deposit. Under the Consumer Protection Act, Chapter 93A, an injured tenant may be able to claim double or treble damages as well as damages for emotional distress. To assert a Chapter 93A claim, the tenant will need to send a claim letter 30 days before asserting this claim. The tenant can pursue a claim of up to $2,000 in small claims court.
Before filing a summary process action to evict a tenant for non-payment of rent, the landlord must first serve the tenant a "14 day notice to quit." Even if a notice to quit has been given by the landlord, a tenant who has a lease can cure the problem by paying all back rent with interest and the cost of filing suit. The payment must be made no later than the day an answer is due in the eviction suit. Where a tenant does not have a lease for a fixed time period, but is only a tenant at will, the tenant must pay within 10 days after the notice to quit is received, except if another notice to quit was given within the past 12 months. In addition, if the notice to quit does not explain the statutory rights of the tenant at will to cure the problem, the time to correct the problem is extended until an answer is due.
When the landlord wishes to end a tenancy for reasons other than non-payment of rent, he must notify the tenant in accordance with the terms of the lease, or in the case of a tenant-at-will, written notice minimally one full rental period (usually monthly) in advance. Either of these notices are deemed delivered timely only when proof of delivery is submitted on the entry date.
Scott A. Kingsley, Constable
April 22. 2006
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