Massachusetts trial courts have begun making information about court cases available to the public on the internet,21 including information about housing cases. While the specific details of housing cases are not currently available online, landlords can see if an eviction case has ever been brought against you in a particular court and the reason for the case. Landlords can also see whether you have ever brought a case against your landlord, for example, to get bad conditions in your home fixed.
Some landlords have begun using this database as a tenant screening tool to decide whether they want to rent to a particular tenant. Tenant advocates and members of the legal community have concerns about the online use of the Massachusetts trial court's database. For example, there can mistakes in the database.
If you have been involved in a housing case and you plan to move, you should look your case up on the court's website. If you find inaccurate information, contact the court to get the information corrected. See Error Correction Form (Booklet 11). For example, if the case was because the landlord wanted to move her son into the apartment, but the online information says it was for non-payment of rent, contact the court and ask them to change this.