I rent several apartments in Fall River Massachusetts and have a tenant who has not paid rent in three months. How long does the eviction process take in Massachusetts? The tenant is now three months behind on rent, but she continually tells me that she has fallen on hard times and is going to pay me back. I want to go to housing court and file for an eviction, but I have no idea of how long it will take. The tenants states that she actually be moving out in less than three weeks, so I don’t know if I should wait or file for eviction? I’m sure I will win in court, but what are the chances of her paying me back the money? Is it difficult to collect money from the judgment in Massachusetts housing court? What happens for the months that I never received rent, will I get that money back?
The eviction process in Massachusetts, or What Is Technically Known As the Summary Process Eviction, in Massachusetts takes approximately three months or more to actually remove a tenant from the property. First you need to serve them with a notice to quit, either a 14 day notice to quit for nonpayment of rent or a 30 day notice to quit. Usually the entire process takes from 3 to 6 months to actually get the tenant out of the apartment or possibly longer, if the tenant knows how to work the system. Since you are already three months behind in rent on this tenant, then you add another three months it’ll take to evict the tenant, you’re looking at half a year of not getting money to pay your mortgage on that particular apartment. This is why it is so critical to never let a tenant fall behind on rent. Also do not forget the amount of money you’re going to have to spend on repair, maintenance and cleanup of the apartment once the tenant has left. Then there are the disposal fees of all the garbage and furniture that the tenant will leave behind. Before you know it you’re looking at half a year of no rent in a couple thousand dollars in repairs and cleanup costs.
This is why it is so critical that you hire an experienced attorney as soon as you plan on becoming a landlord in the state of Massachusetts. Have your attorney prepare the proper notice to quit and serve it on the tenant as soon as they are behind on rent. You can also put it in your lease that if rent is not paid on time, the tenant is responsible for all legal costs associated with eviction and obtaining the rent. If the tenant really does intend to repay you the rent and has the means, they will be able to prevent the eviction I simply paying you back on time or even paying you back when you go to court. But like most landlords do, they let the tenant get several months behind, because they are unaware that it will take three months or more to actually get the tenant evicted. Before you know what you are half a year without receiving rent from that tenant and since they couldn’t pay you the rent, they’re not gonna be able to pay you back the back rent even if the court orders it.
I constantly tell my clients to not even bother going to court to attempt to get back rent, if they couldn’t pay rent to you, what makes you think that a pay rent at their new home and have enough money to pay you back? Also if you do not have an experienced lawyer working on your side, most landlords make one of the numerous amount of mistakes that can be made when you are not experienced in the eviction process. The small cost of hiring a knowledgeable lawyer to handle your eviction for you, will be extremely inexpensive in comparison to not receiving rent. Also legal fees to lawyers and the court system, is deductible off your taxes. Since you already have to pay taxes on the income you receive from the rents of your tenants, might as well use a knowledgeable lawyer to handle your evictions and have your account and write those fees off against your yearly income tax.
Many landlords have gone into foreclosure simply by allowing enough tenants to go behind on rent, without realizing how long it will actually take to evict that tenant, the amount of money it’s going to take to repair the apartment into clean up after they leave in the simple fact that you have little to no chance of getting back the rent that was owed to you even if the court orders it to be repaid. Seek the advice of an experienced landlord tenant lawyer and save yourself thousands of dollars in lost rent and deduct the fees from your yearly income taxes.
Joseph F. Botelho, Esq.
BOTELHO LAW GROUP
Attorneys At Law
901 Eastern Ave.
Fall River, MA 02723
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