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I have tenants at will at my property in Massachusetts. They have not paid for 1 year, and refuse to pay me. What can I do?

Malden, MA |

I would like to evict my tenants. We do not have a signed lease. They will not pay rent. What are their rights? Can I evict?

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Attorney answers 3


You can evict however you should know that depending on how you go about the eviction, they may be able to bring certain counterclaims against you. For example, they could bring claims based on alleged mishandling of a security deposit or last month's rent and/or based on the condition of the apartment. I would suggest that you consult with a landlord/tenant attorney to get a better understanding of your options, how the eviction process works, and what sort of liability you may be facing, if any. Malden is a very landlord-friendly court, so you may be in a good position, but it is hard to say without looking at the particular facts of your situation. You should also know that there are a lot of very technical rules regarding how a landlord must go about the evictions process, dealing, for example, with the types of notices you need to send, and the timing of the filing of your case.

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.


Yes you can evict. Call a local atty to guide you through the process. There are a number of steps you need to take,a local atty can help you avoid pit falls and usually the price is very reasonable.

Good luck

Patrick Bull an attorney licensed to practice in Massachusetts and can be reached at 978-457-9090, or by visiting his website at All answers are based on Massachusetts law. All answers are for educational purposes ONLY and no attorney-client relationship has been formed by providing an answer to your question. The information provided should NOT be relied upon for making legal decisions. You will be best served by hiring a LOCAL attorney who specializes in the field of law you are asking about. Good Luck...


Oh my goodness, I would say it is time to evict them!

Our office offers a streamlined flat fee for uncontested eviction, with an hourly rate in the event that the tenants object, answer, or move to dismiss the case.

Based on the fact that they have failed to pay rent due, you may terminate their tenancy using a 14 day notice to quit. You may also provide them with a rental period, sometimes referred to as a 30 day, notice to quit. There are legal consequences to which notice you send, so do not do so without speaking to an attorney.

If they still do not leave after the termination of the tenancy, then you can bring an eviction action in the appropriate court.

Christopher Vaughn-Martel is a Massachusetts lawyer with the firm of Vaughn-Martel Law in Boston, Massachusetts. All answers are based on Massachusetts law and the limited facts presented by the questioner. All answers are provided to the general public for educational purposes only and no attorney-client relationship is formed by providing an answer to a question. To schedule a consultation with a lawyer, and obtain advice and review of your specific legal issue, please call us today at 617-357-4898 or visit us at

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