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Stay of execution in MA (delaying the eviction)

I get many questions about delaying the eviction process.  So here is a bit of information about requesting a stay.  When a tenant loses at court and faces eviction, there is a ten day waiting period before the landlord can ask the court for an Execution.  That is the document that the landlord will give to a sheriff or constable to provide legal authority for the constable to move the tenant and her belongings out of the apartment.  During that waiting period (and even after), a tenant can ask the court (file a motion) for a stay of execution, a delay in the eviction process.  The law in question, Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 239, Section 9, says only tenants who are being evicted without fault can get a stay of execution, but courts in MA often use their equitable powers to grant a stay even in cases where the tenant was evicted for non-payment of rent.  The stay granted can be up to 6 months, or 12 months if there is a disabled person or someone over the age of sixty is living in the rental unit. Courts will often grant a stay for a shorter period and require the tenant to return and file a new motion if she is still having trouble finding replacement housing. Tenants will be required to pay rent during the time they remain in the apartment, or "use and occupancy" based on the fair market value of the unit.

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