Eviction timeline

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Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Eviction Timeline

What Happens

What This Means

Notice to QuitTenant receives Notice to Quit, ending or terminating the tenancy. Tenant does not have to move out by the date on the notice.
Tenancy terminates
14 or 30 days after Notice to Quit
If tenant receives 14-day Notice to Quit, tenancy terminates 14 days after receipt, unless tenant revives the tenancy by paying. If tenant receives 30-day (or rental period) Notice to Quit, check to make sure the notice is properly done.
Summons & Complaint served
after tenancy terminates.
After a tenancy officially terminates, your landlord can have summons and complaint served. When your landlord serves the summons & complaint, it means they are going to court to evict you.
Landlord files Complaint on "Entry Date"
7 - 30 days after service of summons and complaint.    
Your landlord can file (enter) complaint in court. Must file it on a Monday at least 7 days, but no more than 30 days, after they have the summons and complaint served on tenant. Entry date will be listed on the Summons & Complaint.
Tenant's Motion to Dismiss due
either before "entry date" or with your answer (next step).
Tenant may file a motion to dismiss the case on the entry date or with the answer. If you file the MTD before the entry date and the judge rules in your favor, your case will be dismissed. You do not proceed to the next step. If you do not file MTD by your entry date, you may do so along with your answer. 


Court mails notice of first court event.
Tenant's Answer & Discovery due
3 days before first court event
Landlord and court must receive answer and discovery forms 3 days before the first court event.


Case may settle or be dismissed before the first court event. 
First court event
date listed on Complaint
Judge will review case. Case may settle or be resolved on this date. If your case is not resolved, you will receive a second court date. 
Landlord's Discovery response due
10 days after request for discovery is served.
Landlord’s response to discovery due 10 days after tenant serves discovery. This may be due before the first court event.
Tenant may file Motion to Compel Discovery
5 days after landlord’s failure to respond 
If the landlord does not respond to Tenant's request for discovery, Tenant must serve motion to compel discovery on landlord within 5 business days after the landlord’s failure to respond or inadequate response to discovery. 
Second court event
14 or more days after the First Court Event.
If the case does not settle, the court will set a new court date no sooner than 14 days from the first court event.
Entry of Judgment 
1 day after trial
Court can enter judgment the day after the court makes its decision.
Appeal due 
10 days after judgement.
Tenant or landlord must appeal within 10 days from entry of judgment.
11 days after judgement
If no appeal is filed or if appeal is declined, landlord can get an execution from court and give to sheriff or constable to serve.
Notice of Eviction served
1 day after execution
Sheriff can serve the execution (48-hour notice of eviction) on tenant. 
Sheriff can move tenant out
2 days after execution
Sheriff can move tenant out 48 hours after landlord gets the execution.


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