Boston Housing Court
The following is a compilation of some useful information about the Boston Housing Court. Potential litigants may also be interested my overview of summary process evictions, which applies to all of the housing courts in Massachusetts, and which is also posted to Avvo.
General information about the Courthouse
The Boston Housing Court is in the Edward W. Brooke courthouse at 24 New Chardon St. in Boston. You will need to pass through security so avoid bringing any weapons or other items that might slow you down at the metal detectors (cellphones ARE allowed, but be sure to turn off the ringer before you enter the courtrooms or they will be confiscated until the end of the day). Once inside, the clerk’s office for housing is on the third floor – staff there are very helpful and can answer questions about procedures as well provide forms for litigants to file with the court. The housing courtrooms are on the fifth floor – courtrooms 14, 15, and sometimes 16. There is a snack bar on the first floor of the courthouse and bathrooms are located on each floor by the elevators.
Thursday – Summary Process Evictions
The Boston Housing Court hears summary process eviction cases on Thursdays and there are generally between 150 and 250 such cases scheduled each week. While this sounds like a lot, the system is actually fairly efficient at getting through all of them by the end of the day. On Thursdays, litigants should plan to arrive early at the courthouse as the line to get through security can be long. All of the housing cases are heard in courtrooms 14 and 15 (and sometimes 16) on the fifth floor. All of the notices sent to litigants regarding summary process cases say to go to courtroom 15, however when you arrive, you should check in with the court staff at the table outside of courtroom 14 and they will assign you either to courtroom 14 or courtroom 15. At around 9:30, litigants should go into their assigned courtroom where they will hear an overview of the evictions process from a judge followed by the call of the case list by the clerk. At this point, each case will be assigned either to a judge or to mediation. The term “mediation” is used loosely as it can include informal negotiations in the hallway or formal mediation with a housing specialist on the third floor. Note that there are tables outside of courtrooms 14 and 15 that are staffed by volunteer attorneys on Wednesdays and Thursdays. These attorneys can often provide free advice to litigants at the housing court and may sometimes provide additional legal assistance to low-income individuals.
Wednesday – Boston Housing Authority evictions and other
BHA cases are generally scheduled for Wednesdays. The procedure is the same as that described above except that there are no court staff outside of courtroom 14 since there are many fewer cases scheduled. Instead, you should go into courtroom 15 where the clerk will call the list of cases at around 9:30AM.