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Do I need an attorney to evict a tenant?

Newton Center, MA |

This tenant has missed several payments over four years totalling more than $10k.

Attorney Answers 5


  1. MA is pro-tenant so it will be to your benefit to retain an attorney.

    This is not considered legal advice


  2. You don't have to have an attorney to proceed with an eviction but there are a number of technical requirements that an attorney can help with such as what sort of Notice to Quit you need to use and when you need to send it, when you can file the summary process complaint, the reasons you should give for the eviction, and the arguments you should make against the tenant's defenses and counterclaims, if any. Often, landlords miss one of these requirements and face dismissal of their case on technical grounds. This isn't fatal to your case but it does require starting the process over again, which can result in significant delay.

    The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change.


  3. Landlord/Tenant actions are somewhat routine in most states. You are not required to have an attorney. Often you can just go to the landlord tenant court (often part of the small claims court system) and the clerks will help you with the paperwork. Yes, you can get an attorney if you are totally lost, but one is not required.

    Also, you should not wait months to start such actions. Tenants often promise and then delay. So, you need to get a system where you start the notification process regarding evictions promptly upon your tenant's default on the leasee. Some landlords start this even if the tenant is a day late, to show they are serious about timliness of rent.

    Finally, you need to make a business decision. You have a tenant paying you rent, it seems, most of the time.

    Finally, is this a commercial tenant or residential. Owing $10,000 is a lot of money. If commiercial, it would be more likely you do need an attorney as the issues may be more complex.

    Good luck.

    Marty

    Marty Davidoff, emd@taxattorneycpa.com, 732-274-1600. This answer is provided for general information only. You should seek advice from an attorney or tax professional.


  4. A lawyer who is familiar with the rules of court, including the unique system of deadlines that applies to summary process (eviction) cases, and who knows whom to call to serve legal papers,
    can get your case heard as quickly as legally possible. If this keeps you from losing another month's rent, that may well offset the cost of the lawyer's fee.

    Disclaimer: exchange of information on this site does not create an attorney-client relationship.


  5. Oftentimes a landlord new to the process, who knows that he/she will be facing the eviction process again in the future will hire an attorney the first time, keep copies of everything the attorney files, sees how it is done and then proceeds on his/her own in future evictions.

    The answer to this question is for informational purposes only and is expressly not legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, a lawyer-client relationship. Readers should not act upon this without seeking advice from professional advisers.