Boston Real Estate Attorneys Provide Guidance on “Notice to Quit”

Legal assistance for landlords seeking to terminate residential tenancies

Residential landlords who want to reclaim a property from a problem tenant can do so, but they must follow precise rules or risk exacerbating the problem. The Law Office of Vesper Gibbs Barnes & Associates P.C. provides trustworthy guidance for landlords for a variety of situations. Drawing on more than 40 years of combined legal experience, our landlord-tenant lawyers advise you every step of the way. Your residential real estate is a unique and valuable asset. If a problem tenant is costing you revenue, we can help you resolve the problem with the minimum stress, delay, and expense.

Prudent steps to reclaim premises with a “notice to quit”

Issuing a notice to quit is the first step in the residential eviction process. For the notice to have legal effect, the document and its service on the tenant must conform to very specific rules. Mistakes made in the execution and delivery of the notice can undermine your legal case for removing the tenant. A landlord might deliver a notice to quit for several reasons, such as:

  • Nonpayment of rent — When the reason for removal is nonpayment of rent, the landlord must send the tenant a 14-day notice to quit, identifying the parties to the dispute, the premises in question, the amount of rent owed, and the date to surrender the premises. Because the landlord has the burden of proving the tenant received the notice, service should be by constable or sheriff. The tenant has a right of cure and can reinstate tenancy by paying back rent. However, landlords can accept payment without reinstating tenancy by endorsing a check with the appropriate language, e.g., “accepted for use and occupancy only and not for rent.” If you are determined to be rid of the tenant even if payments are made current, your 14-day notice should include language to that effect.
  • Non-renewal of lease — If you do not want to extend a tenancy automatically after a lease expires, but you are willing to allow a tenant to continue under new terms, you must offer new lease terms along with the notice to quit.
  • Termination of at-will tenancy — If you simply want to be rid of a problem tenant who is living month-to-month without a lease, you must provide lengthier notice, usually for at least a full rental period. Thus, if you want to terminate a tenant at the end of a month, you must serve notice during the prior month.
  • Removal for cause — If a tenant has violated terms of the lease, a seven-day notice to quit is usually appropriate. If the tenant is at will, but behavior is clearly a cause for eviction, it is usually more prudent to serve a 30-day notice to quit.

Because the terms of notice depend on the specific facts of the case, it’s important to get reliable advice from an experienced attorney who can recommend a prudent course of action. Having an experienced attorney draft your notice can save you from errors and omissions that can complicate the case unnecessarily, leading to delays and losses. At the Law Office of Vesper Gibbs Barnes & Associates, we have the knowledge required to resolve your landlord-tenant conflicts swiftly and cost-effectively.

Contact our real estate attorneys for reliable guidance on notices to quit in Boston

The Law Office of Vesper Gibbs Barnes & Associates P.C. helps property owners in Boston take prudent steps to reclaim residential units from problem tenants with notices to quit. Call us today at 617-861-8553 or contact our Roxbury office online. Our firm serves clients throughout Boston, as well as Suffolk and the surrounding counties.

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  • Vesper Gibbs Barnes
    Vesper Gibbs Barnes

    Vesper Gibbs Barnes

  • Felicia E. Higginbottom
    Felicia E. Higginbottom

    Felicia E. Higginbottom