Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Emergency Notice

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COVID-19 Eviction Court Updates

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed April 22, 2020

Changes to eviction cases in Housing Court and District Court during Coronavirus pandemic

On April 20, 2020 Massachusetts passed an emergency law to stop evictions and foreclosures during the COVID-19 state of emergency. 

Landlords cannot file any new eviction cases in court, including:

  • Non-payment of rent, or
  • No-fault/no cause.

Courts can only schedule hearings if the case is an emergency.

Courts cannot enter judgments, including agreements for judgment and default judgments.

Courts cannot issue orders to evict, “executions.”

Landlords may still go to court to remove tenants in an emergency. Emergencies involve criminal activity or lease violations that endanger the health and safety of others.

How long does the moratorium last?

The moratorium is in effect until August 18, 2020 or until 45 days after the Governor lifts the state of emergency, whichever comes first.

The Governor can extend the end date of the moratorium so that it does not end before the end of the state of emergency.

What if I already had a non-emergency eviction case in court before the moratorium was passed?

  • All deadlines in your case are paused as long as the moratorium is in effect.
  • No court hearings can be scheduled unless they involve an emergency.
  • Courts cannot enter judgments, including agreements for judgment, or issue orders to evict (called “executions”).
  • Sheriffs and movers cannot move you out of your home.

Additional Resources

If you get an eviction notice, a court complaint, or any other papers related to an eviction, contact your local legal aid office.
MassCourts.org - view your case information
City Life Vida Urbana - tenant advocacy group
English (617) 934-5006
Español (617) 397-3773

See the full text of the moratorium law, Chapter 65 of the Acts of 2020.

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