If I have a tenant that does not have a lease, what are my options because they won’t leave?

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If I have a tenant that does not have a lease, what are my options because they won’t leave?

Asked on November 19, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If a tenant does not have a lease, they are considered to have a periodic or "month-to-month" tenancy. Accordingly, a 30 day notice to quit the premises is typical. If the tenant does not remove themselves by the date specified in the notice, then you will have to file an unlawful detainer action with the court; this is simply an eviction lawsuit. Once the court issues you a "writ of possession" or equivalent, then if this tenant is still on the property, you can have a sheriff remove them.

Note; In the meantime take no self help measures. If you try to throw their things out or change the lock, etc., you could find yourself on the wrong side of the law.


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