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Stays of Execution in Massachusetts Landlord and Tenant Cases

If you are a Massachusetts landlord who has already followed proper evictionApt - Condo.jpg procedures and the court found that you are entitled to a judgment and execution for possession, or perhaps you entered into a Summary Process Agreement for Judgment with your tenants, which requires them to vacate by a certain date, here is important information you should know if the tenant files a Motion to Stay, thereby requesting additional time to move.

Do the tenants have any grounds for seeking more time, even though they have already lost their case?

If the eviction was a no-fault eviction, rather than an eviction for non-payment of rent, then the court can grant the tenant a six-month stay, or if the tenant is handicapped or at least 60 years old, then the court can grant the tenant a twelve month stay. 

The tenant must demonstrate that he, "cannot secure suitable premises for himself and his family elsewhere within the city or town in a neighborhood similar to that in which the premises occupied by him are situated; that he has used due and reasonable effort to secure such other premises; that his application is made in good faith and that he will abide by and comply with such terms and provisions as the court may prescribe; or that by reason of other facts such action will be warranted". 

How can the landlord oppose the tenant's efforts?

The landlord will want to point out that if the eviction was brought for non-payment of rent, and the tenant is not entitled to a stay, as a matter of law. If the eviction was a no-fault eviction, however, the landlord will need to counter the tenant's arguments that he meets the criteria for a stay.

The landlord will also include a clause in the Summary Process Agreement for Judgment stating "that there shall be no stays, extensions or appeals of any type, kind or nature."

In any event, if the court grants a stay, the law requires that the stay shall be conditioned upon the tenant's depositing monies to the court for occupation of the premises during the stay the amount he was paying for rent previously, any additional amount the court deems reasonable, and all unpaid rent prior to the stay. The statute also provides that the court shall pay to the landlord the amounts deposited into court. 

It is always wise for a landlord to hire an attorney to handle the eviction from start to finish. Too many times landlords thought they could save a few bucks by doing it themselves, only to find that they have made mistakes that cost them time and money. 

It is just as important for tenants to hire an attorney rather than go to court unrepresented, only to find they are overwhelmed by the process and are left without recourse.

An experienced lawyer can anticipate obstacles that may arise, and also avoid traps for the unwary. 

Contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar at 978-844-4095 to schedule a FREE one hour no obligation consultation.

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Law Offices of Renee Lazar
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