Evicting a Problem Tenant

By: Howard S. Goldman and Eric T. Thulin

Most residential landlord/tenant relationships begin and end without any problems or concerns. However, when landlords find themselves dealing with a tenant who continuously violates the terms and conditions of the tenancy, the landlord often feels like they are without recourse. Massachusetts is an extremely tenant-friendly state with a long history of statutes and case precedent which has enhanced the rights of tenants and made it very difficult for landlords to sustain and succeed on eviction actions. To evict a tenant, the landlord must proceed cautiously and carefully to avoid traps for the unwary.

Landlords have numerous reasons why they seek to evict a tenant. Most commonly, it is for unpaid rent. Other evictions are referred to as “cause-based evictions” and they usually are brought for noise violations, unauthorized smoking, or allowing unauthorized occupants. Advances in society and technology have also introduced new issues and complications for landlords such as the legalization of marijuana, invention of electronic cigarettes, and online subletting through websites such as Airbnb. All of these have increased the difficulties that landlords have to deal with and have posed legitimate questions as to what the rights of the landlords are. [Read more…]