Skip to main content

We'd like to move our son into our basement in law apartment. How do we evict the tenant?

Southampton, MA |

My wife is pregnant a d this is our primary residence. The tenant has always been slow to pay rent and now doesn't pay anything. She called the board of health to report violations. We can't afford to fix the violations and just want her out.

+ Read More

Attorney answers 3


If she has filed health code violations and you have not made repairs, your action to evict her will be seen as retaliatory and you will have problems. You should try to make her an offer to move or retain an attorney to handle the eviction on your behalf.

This is not legal advice and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. You should speak to an attorney for further information.

George Charles Samiotes

George Charles Samiotes


I agree with Attorney Mason's answer.


You will really need an attorney to assist you in this.

Since your tenant has called the board of health, any eviction that you begin now may be deemed to be retaliatory. You would need to establish clearly to a court that your motivation is not based on her reporting of violations, but for some other legitimate reason. In any event, you will need to work things out with this tenant, and you will most likely need to send a notice to quit and begin eviction proceedings. Other than her voluntarily moving out, eviction is the only way.

Evictions can be tricky, and you really should have counsel.

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


When a landlord gives a tenant notice that their tenancy is being terminated within six months after the tenant made a report or complaint regarding health/building code violations a rebuttable presumption arises that the notice is a reprisal against the tenant. This constitutes a defense against the eviction. However, if you are able to show the Court that the real reason you are evicting the tenant is because they are not paying rent rather than because she reported you, you may be successful in the eviction. I would suggest consulting an attorney.

The foregoing answer does not establish an attorney client relationship, is not confidential, and should not be relied upon in place of an actual consultation with an attorney. Attorney Samiotes is licensed to practice in Massachusetts, the Federal District Court of Massachusetts, and the Court of International Trade. Most initial consultations are free. Further information is available on my profile and at