Even if the court says the owner can evict you, you may be able to postpone or prevent the eviction. But you must act quickly. To learn more, see Chapter 12: Evictions - Challenging a Court - Ordered Eviction.
a. If the Court Orders You Out
If the owner wins the eviction case, she will get a paper called an
The constable or sheriff must give you 48 hours notice before he moves you out. Only a constable or sheriff can physically move you out.
b. Getting an Order to Postpone the Move Out
If you need more time to move ask the court to postpone the date you have to move out. Immediately fill out the form in Stay (Booklet 8).
If you are 60 or older or you have a disability, you may ask for up to 12 months; all other tenants may ask for up to 6 months.55 The court will decide how much time to give you.
The court will usually not allow you to stay longer if it was your own fault you were evicted like you did not follow the terms of your lease.
If you lose and you still think you should have won your case, you may appeal the court's decision. You must file an appeal within 10 days of the court's decision.56 Appeals are very complicated. It is important to try and get a lawyer.
d. Requesting an Order to Stop the 48-Hour Move-Out Notice
If you get a 48-hour notice from a constable and you are not able to move out, you can file a complaint for a
Or try the MassAccess interactive interview, Complaint for a Temporary Restraining Order, that lets you complete, review, sign and send your request for a Temporary Restraining Order to the court from your smart phone or computer. You will have to pay a filing fee. If you cannot afford the fee, file an Affidavit of Indigency (Booklet 9).
e. If You Cannot Get an Order to Stop or Postpone the Eviction
Only a constable or sheriff can physically move you out. He must give you at least 48 hours written notice written before he makes you leave. When the constable arrives, he will have the execution paper. This paper lists the names of the adults to be evicted.
The constable cannot evict you:
- If you live at the property and you are over 18 but your name is not on the court papers or the
- If your name is not on the court papers or the execution, the officer cannot evict your family either.58 Show the officer your ID and proof of your address. Explain that your name is not on the court papers and he must not evict you.
- But if you get a subsidy to help pay the rent, not every adult needs to be listed on the execution. Only the
head of householdwho signed the rental contract needs to be on the execution.
To learn more about all of the above, see Chapter 12: Evictions - Challenging a Court-Ordered Eviction.
56 . G.L. c. 239, §5; U.S.P.R. 12.
57 . A person entitled to live at a property cannot be removed without due process of law. U.S. Const. amend. V and Mass. Const. Art. XII and XV. “An eviction action is personal and cannot be sustained against ‘John Doe’ or ‘all others.’ Each tenant at the property must be identified by name on both the notice to quit and the summary process summons and complaint.” Barros v. Jiminez, (Boston Housing Court no. 09H84-SP-1255 (Muirhead, J., April 29, 2009.)
58 . See e.g., Santana v. Brooks, Boston Housing Court, 05-SP-00541 (Pierce, J., Apr. 14, 2005) (holding the landlord had to bring one case against both members of a couple who were both lessees for purposes of judicial economy.)