Tenants' Rights in Massachusetts: Private Housing

The chapters below are from Legal Tactics: Tenants' Rights in Massachusetts. This handbook provides practical information about tenants' rights in private housing—housing that is owned by an individual or a privately owned company.

We are in the process of updating this handbook. Most chapters are from the 2008 edition. As we update chapters we are posting them. Our hope is to complete the updating by January 2016.

In each chapter, reference is made to sample letters and court forms. To get these forms see the list below or go to Self Help Forms where these same forms are organized by topic.

If you live in public housing, go to the Public Housing section. You may also purchase Legal Tactics from Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education by calling 1-800-966-6253.


Now, thanks to Massachusetts Trial Court Law librarian Catherine Alves, you can download the eBook - Find Out How.

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PDF icon Acknowledgements (2008)

PDF icon Using Legal Tactics (2008)

PDF icon Before Moving In (2008)

PDF icon Security Deposits (2013)

PDF icon Tenancy (2008)

PDF icon Rents (2008)

PDF icon Utilities (2014)

PDF icon Discrimination (2008)

PDF icon Getting Repairs Made (2008)

PDF icon Lead Poisoning (2008)

PDF icon Getting Organized (2008)

PDF icon Receiverships (2008)

PDF icon Moving Out (2008)

PDF icon Evictions (2014)

PDF icon Taking Your Landlord to Court (2008)

PDF icon Using the Court System (2008)

PDF icon Getting (& Preventing) Access to Information (2008)

PDF icon Rooming Houses (2008)

PDF icon Mobile Homes (2008)

PDF icon Tenants & Foreclosure (2015)

PDF icon Condominium Control (2008)

PDF icon Glossary (2008)

PDF icon Directory (2008)

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Last Updated 13 March, 2006

Self Help Forms and Letters

One of the most important steps you can take as a tenant is to put your concerns in writing. This may mean writing a letter, filing court papers, or putting together documents that help tenants organize.

Booklets 1-9 are for tenants who are facing an eviction. Forms 1-31 are a series of checklists, sample letters, and useful forms that are referenced in the chapters above. These forms are organized by topic at Self Help Forms.

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute


PDF iconBooklet 1 Representing Yourself in an Eviction

PDF iconBooklet 2 Housing Code Checklist An easy-to-use checklist that tells you what the minimum legal requirements for rental housing are under the State Sanitary Code.

PDF iconBooklet 2 Housing Code Checklist Spanish

PDF iconBooklet 3 The Answer: How to Defend Your Eviction The Answer is a court form that tenants facing evictions can file with the court to outline your legal claims and tell the court your side of the story.

PDF iconBooklet 4 Discovery: Getting Information for Trial A form tenants facing eviction can use to request information from the landlord in order to prepare for your trial.

PDF iconBooklet 4A Discovery: for Tenants in Foreclosed Properties (2015)

PDF iconBooklet 5 Transfer Form A form you can file to transfer your eviction case from a District Court to a Housing Court.

PDF iconBooklet 6 Removing Default

PDF iconBooklet 7 Where Do You File an Appeal If you lost your eviction trial and think you have a good case, you may appeal. This document tells you which Appeal form to use.

PDF icon Booklet 7A Appeals in Housing and Superior Courts
This is the appeal form to use if you lost your eviction case in a Massachusetts Housing Court or Superior Court.

PDF icon Booklet 7B Appeals in District Courts This is the appeal form to use if you lost your eviction case in a District Court.

PDF icon Booklet 8 Getting Time to Stay If You Lost Case A form tenants can use to ask a court for more time to move if you lost your eviction case or agreed to a court judgment to move out.

PDF icon Booklet 9 Indigency Affidavit: Asking for Court Costs

PDF icon Booklet 10 Negotiating a Settlement of Your Case (June 2017) includes a worksheet and stipulation forms to use when you go to court.

PDF icon Booklet 11 Court Error Correction Form (2017) Correcting Errors in Your Online Court Record. Booklet includes the court form you can save to your computer, fill out, save again and print when ready.

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Last Updated June 2017


PDF icon Form 1 Tenant Lead Law

PDF icon Form 2 Moving In Checklist

PDF icon Form 3 Statement of Condition

PDF icon Form 4 Security Deposit & Last Month’s Rent Receipt

PDF icon Form 5 Security Deposit Demand Letter

PDF icon Sample Rent Receipt

PDF icon Form 6: Serious Illness/Utility Shut-Off (Dr.'s Letter)

PDF icon Form 7 Serious Illness/Utility Shut-Off Form

PDF icon Form 8 Checklist: How to Resolve Utility Problems

PDF icon Form 9 Repair Letter

PDF icon Form 10 Repair Demand Letter

PDF icon Form 11 Inspection Letter

PDF icon Form 12 Rent Withholding Letter

PDF icon Form 13 Repair and Deduct Letter

PDF icon Form 14 Tenant Petition to Enforce State Sanitary Code

PDF icon Form 15 Temporary Restraining Order You can use this form to ask a court to order your landlord to correct a problem (such a make an emergency repair) or stop doing something illegal (such as locking you out of your apartment).

PDF icon Form 16 Tenant Survey

PDF icon Form 17 Moving Out Checklist

PDF icon Form 18 Lockout/Utility Shut-off Demand Letter Use this form if you have been locked out of your apartment illegally, or if your landlord has shutoff your utilities illegally.

PDF icon Form 19 Sample Summary Process Complaint

PDF icon Form 20 Motion to Dismiss

PDF icon Form 21 Sample Execution

PDF icon Form 22 Public Records Request Letter

PDF icon Form 22 Public Records Request Letter

PDF iconForm 23 CORI Request Form (updated 2012)

PDF icon Form 24 Sample Collective Bargaining Agreement

PDF icon Form 25 Sample Organizing Resolution

PDF icon Form 26 Sample Organizing Petition

PDF icon Form 27 Sample Rent Offer Letter

PDF icon Form 28 Organizing Flier

PDF icon Form 29 Organizing Letter to Owner

PDF icon Form 30 Organizing Press Release

PDF icon Form 31 Organizing Meeting Agenda

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute

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