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30 day notice to terminate tenancy

What is the process to serve a 30 day notice? Can it take longer than 30 days? What do I do if the tenant doesn't move? I am a new owner of a 3 family in Massachusetts. I've been living with my sister since my niece moved out a few years ago. The arrangement was supposed to be temporary until I fixed up and moved into one of the apts or my boyfriend and I bought a house. While my boyfriend and I were fixing up the building, I commuted from there a few times. Commuting from the apt added an extra 20 minutes to my morning commute and an extra 40 to my evening commute so I decided not to live there. My niece and her boyfriend broke up so she's back home and I'm living out of boxes, sleeping on the couch. I need a place to live and my only option right now is to move into one of the apts. I plan on sending the 1st floor tenant a 30 day notice to end the tenancy, they are tenants at will. They failed to pay me this month's rent and are now avoiding me but I need a place to live more than I need their rent money. Can their non payment of rent make this process more difficult?

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Follow this link for my opinion about the best way to serve a notice to quit.  Unfortunately, getting rid of a tenant 'quickly' is not something that happens in Massachusetts.  Because your tenant owes rent, you could serve them with a 14 day notice to quit.  However, under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 186, Section 12, if that is their first 14 day notice to quit, or if they have not received one in the last 12 months, they can prevent eviction by paying the full amount owed within ten days of receipt of the notice.  If it is not their first 14 day notice, I would go with this option.  Get to court, negotiate a settlement with the housing specialist, and get a date certain when they will be gone (or the court will issue a judgment for possession).

You could use the 30 day notice, but Massachusetts Housing Court judges often give tenants a good deal of time to find a new place (months).  You can try the 14 day, and if they actually pay the rent owned within the ten days, then serve them with a 30 day notice.  I know, it sound confusing, and just read some of the entries in our Massachusetts Landlord Law Discussion Forum if you are interested in discovering the kind of frustration you may be about to endure.  Finally, you can try to negotiate with the tenants.  Enter a written agreement in which, in exchange for foregoing the rent owed, you agree not file a complaint and they promise to move out on a specified date and give up their rights to the unit.  The key here, of course, is getting them to agree to move out fast, something they may not be able or willing to do.   Good luck.



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