Landlord / Tenant Laws in Massachusetts & NH
The Law Offices of Todd D. Beauregard, P.C. has worked with landlords and tenants in Massachusetts and NH who are looking to rent a home or apartment. We can assist you with rental lease agreements, laws pertaining to tenant eviction notices, security deposits, and your tenancy rights. If you are having legal disputes with your landlord or tenant, it is best to speak to an experienced attorney. Attorney Todd D. Beauregard works in both Massachusetts and NH courts and has offices conveniently located in Boston MA, Lowell, Concord MA, North Andover and Nashua NH.
With more than 34% of the population in the United States renting their homes, it is easy to see how important laws surrounding the landlord/tenant relationship are to have. Making sure that you have an attorney with the experience and the knowledge of the individual state laws is vital to handling issues that arise between landlords and tenants including such things as evictions, living condition, repair disagreements and contract disputes.
How Do I Evict My Tenant?
You first must determine what type of relationship you have with your tenant. The rules of the game change with this determination. There are two main types of tenancies; one at will and one under a lease. Traditionally, tenancies at will were oral. This is no longer the case. In general, if a tenancy is oral or even if it is in writing, with the provision that either the landlord or tenant can terminate the relationship by giving a notice that is equal to the interval between the days of payment or thirty (30) days, whichever is longer, it is a tenancy at will.
Most evictions are brought for non-payment of rent. If a tenancy at will is being terminated for nonpayment of rent, the landlord must give a written fourteen (14) days’ Notice to Quit to the tenant. Again, one can easily obtain this notice from a legal stationery store, Rental Housing Association, or from a Constable. Do not utilize a fourteen (14) days’ notice to quit which is designed for a tenant under a lease, as there are distinct differences.
If the tenant is under a lease, you must first examine the lease to determine how much time is required. If the reason is nonpayment of rent, by statute, you must give a written fourteen (14) days’ Notice to Quit.
What is A Notice to Quit?
Simply, a Notice to Quit is a document (notice) given by a landlord to a tenant to leave the premises (quit) either by a certain date (usually 30 days) or to pay overdue rent or correct some other default. This notice should contain certain information, such as: names of the persons to leave, whether their tenancy is by written or oral agreement, the reasons for the notice and any other terms.
When a Notice to Quit may be Needed
- Non-Payment of rent, not paying on time.
- Tenant refuses to leave after the lease expired.
- There is no lease and the landlord simply want’s the tenant to leave.
- The tenant continues to physically damage the property, continues to violate the terms of the lease, creates a health hazard and is ongoing.
Can I Sue My Tenant or Landlord for Money?
Yes, through a summary process summons a landlord can sue the tenant for nonpayment of rent. As a tenant you can sue for security deposit or other monies not paid back from allegations of property damage to the property above normal wear and tear. These areas will need to be addressed by the courts and having an attorney can help you understand the laws and what to expect. The landlord must institute a separate case to recover other types of alleged damages.
What is a Summary Process Summons?
After the notice to quit has been issued, the landlord can now proceed to serve a Summary Process Summons and Complaint form upon the tenant. Only an authorized Constable or Sheriff can serve this process. The Summary Process Summons and Complaint form is first obtained from the court. The Constable or Sheriff generally will assist the landlord in helping to fill out the Complaint form.
What if I Don’t Have a Lease?
If a tenant does not have a lease, she/he can be evicted for any reason. However, if a tenant is trying to make good on the issues and address the problems then a landlord can and should not take retaliate and give them time to resolve the complaints against them.
If there are signs of serious abuse to the property by the tenant or they are not paying their rent, then a landlord is entitled to take legal action to protect their investments. A basic law is that the tenant must receive a notice of the problems in question. They need to have an opportunity to correct the problems or to leave.
Do I Need A Reason to Evict My Tenant?
Yes and No. If the reason for eviction is a violation of a lease term or nonpayment of rent, this reason must be spelled out in both the Notice to Quit and on the Summary Process Summons and Complaint. In all other cases, while the substantive law of the Commonwealth may not always require a reason for termination of a tenancy, the rules of Summary Process require a reason for eviction. The reason might be simply that a tenant is holding against the right of the landlord after the tenancy has been terminated.
Benefits to Hiring a Lawyer
Landlord/Tenant laws vary from state to state making it difficult to know your rights as a landlord or a tenant. Attorney Todd D. Beauregard knows the laws in both MA & NH. If you own or manage properties in both Massachusetts and New Hampshire it’s important to understand the laws in each state. While there are similarities between the processes in both states, there are also some differences that are important to understand before managing an issue with a landlord or a tenant. One such example is in the Demand for Rent and Notice to Quit. In the State of New Hampshire, the landlord need only give the tenant 7 days to pay the rent plus arrears before beginning the eviction process. In the State of Massachusetts, the landlord must give the tenant 14 days to pay the rent plus arrears.
Understanding what the responsibilities of a landlord as well as knowing what rights the tenant has in each state is important to handling any issues that might arise for either party. The Law Office of Todd D. Beauregard are well versed in these rights and responsibilities according to each state and are prepared to protect their client’s rights throughout any dispute. Allowing an attorney to take on any disputes allows you to maintain a distance and keep emotions out of the process.
To Schedule a Free Consultation, Contact Us or Call the Law Offices of Todd D. Beauregard, P.C. at (978) 275-1919.
We’d love to give your case the individualized attention it deserves.