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What should I agree to?

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute with assistance from legal services offices in Massachusetts
Created May 2017

 

What should I agree to?

  1. Try to use the forms in this Booklet to record your agreement.
  2. Only agree to things you know you can do. Do not agree to something you only hope you can do. An agreement becomes an order of the court. If you do not follow the agreement, your landlord can go back to court for permission to move you out.
  3. Do not agree to move if you cannot find another place by the date the landlord wants you to move.
  4. Only agree to make payments you are sure you can pay. If you do not make the payments you agree to, the landlord can go back to court for an order to move you out.
  5. Negotiate reasonable accommodations if you have a disability. If your landlord is evicting you for a violation of your lease and the violation is related in some way to a disability that you or someone in your family has, you may have the right to a reasonable accommodation. Put in the agreement how to fix the problem. For example, if they are evicting you because your disability makes it hard to pay rent by a certain date, negotiate a better rent due date. In Housing Court, ask the Tenancy Preservation Program for help.
  6. Read the agreement. Once you sign an agreement, you can only change it if the landlord agrees or the court orders it.
  7. Make sure the eviction case is dismissed if you follow the terms of the agreement.
  8. Put in your agreement that the court will dismiss your eviction case once you have met the terms of the agreement.
    • Put in a fixed time that your eviction case will be dismissed. For example, put in the agreement: “The judgment will be vacated and the case dismissed within 5 business days of all payments being made.”
    • If you are staying in your apartment, put in the agreement that your “tenancy will be reinstated.”
    • Always check with the court to make sure that the case has been dismissed.
  9. Protect yourself in case you or your landlord do not follow the agreement:
    • Include in your agreement that if you do not follow the agreement, your landlord must file a motion for a hearing to get a final eviction order. This means you have a chance to explain to a judge why you could not follow the agreement.
    • Include in your agreement that if your landlord does not follow the agreement, you can file a motion. Your motion would ask the court to order your landlord to follow the agreement. For example, if your landlord agreed to make certain repairs and did not make them, your agreement would allow you to file a motion that asks the court to order the landlord to make the repairs.
    • You must hold up your end of the agreement even if you believe the other side is not holding up their end . For example, if you agreed to make payments to your landlord, you must continue to make those payments, even if you believe there are problems with your apartment that the landlord has failed to repair.

 

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