Renters, Know Your Rights
from Connections, Summer 2023 newsletter
If you are facing eviction, you do not have to move out just because your landlord told you to, sent you a notice to quit, or sent you a Summary Process Summons and Complaint. You only have to move out if the court orders you to move out.
If your landlord wants you to move out, they must:
- Send you a letter called a notice to quit telling you they want you to leave.
- Go to court.
- Win the eviction case.
- Get a court order from the judge.
If served with court papers called the Summons and Complaint:
- Read the papers carefully.
- File an answer three business days before your first court event.
- Go to court, or else you will automatically lose your case.
The Summons and Complaint will tell you:
- The name and address of the court that is hearing your case.
- The date and time of your first court hearing.
- Whether the court hearing is in-person or over Zoom.
If you have bad conditions in your home:
- It is important to document them and alert the landlord.
- If the landlord knows about these conditions, you can prevent your eviction if you face a nonpayment or no-fault eviction.
- A tenant’s duty to pay rent is based on the landlord’s duty to keep the apartment in good condition.
- In Massachusetts, renters can use the state Sanitary Code to defend against eviction.
Questions about renter’s rights?
Email Kate at firstname.lastname@example.org