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COVID-19 Eviction Court Updates

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed October 18, 2020

Changes to eviction cases during Coronavirus pandemic

The national eviction moratorium stops some evictions through December 31, 2020. See COVID-19 and Housing

How will I know when to go to court?

You will get two notices from the court

The Summons and Complaint tells you that your landlord is trying to evict you.

The second notice says the date of your “first court event.” This is a meeting with your landlord and a mediator. This is not your eviction trial. The meeting is online or over the phone.

The second notice also tells you how to login to your "first court event" online. Use the videoconference link or the phone number listed.

If you need help:

  • Call the Court Clerk’s office at the number listed on your Summons and Complaint, or 

  • Ask at the Zoom virtual counter, M-F 1pm to 4:15pm (646) 828-7666 (Meeting ID 161-670-2984).

When is my Answer due?

Give the court and your landlord your Answer and Discovery three days before your "first court event."

Find a lawyer to help you fill out your Answer.

If you cannot get a lawyer, fill out your own Answer and Discovery using MADE.

At least three days before the date listed on the second notice from the court, give a copy of your Answer and Discovery to:

  • your landlord and 

  • the court. 

What happens at the first court event?

Your first court even will be by videoconference. Find tips to get ready for court online.

When you log-in, you will talk to a mediator and your landlord or your landlord’s lawyer about the case. The court wants to know if you can reach a settlement agreement with your landlord. They will see if:

You do not have to settle with your landlord at your "first court event."

Learn about negotiating a settlement.

If you do not settle, the court will give you another date to log-on to court again. This will be at least 14 days after your "first court event." The new date may be your trial date.

Find Legal Aid

You may be able to get free legal help from your local legal aid program. Or email a question about your own legal problem to a lawyer.

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