Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Emergency Notice

You are here

Do I have to pay rent during the COVID-19 state of emergency?

Produced by Justice Center of Southeast Massachusetts and Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed July 22, 2020

Yes. Pay your rent like you normally do and get a receipt.

If you cannot pay rent, talk to your landlord right away. Tell your landlord why you cannot make rent. Keep any papers you have that show reasons you cannot make rent. For example, if you got a letter or an email about losing your job or getting your hours cut.

If you give your landlord notice and proof that you missed the payment because of a “financial impact of COVID-19” like losing your job or not being able to work because you were sick with COVID-19 they:

  • cannot charge you a late fee, or
  • report your non-payment to a credit bureau.

You must give your landlord the proof within 30 days of missing a rent payment.  Use this notice and certification form. Or you can write your own letter.  

Even if you cannot pay rent, your landlord cannot make you move out. No one can force you from your home.  Your landlord is not allowed to:

  • terminate your tenancy,
  • give you a Notice to Quit,
  • start an eviction case against you, or
  • move you out of your apartment for non-payment of rent


  • October 17, 2020.

If your landlord tries to get you to move out:

If you need help paying your rent see Where can I get help paying my rent?  

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.

Ask a Law Librarian

If it's
9am and 4pm