HELP!!! - New tenants not paying rent

Hi everyone - I really need some advice. I posted a while back on another forum on this website about the difficulties in selling an apt for my sister. Well, bad luck is following me on this one. We went down the rent option for another year and I got 2 tenants - excellent canditates in my opinion at the time , everything checked out with them. I did not do a full background ( i know - won’t make that mistake again) but i did call their referances etc. the had the deposit on hand no problem and setup the direct deposit and some money went through

anyway - Its now the 3rd oct and i still do not have all the rent for sept and oct yet. I do have a full deposit. They are not returning my calls and the promise of all the money in my account yesterday was not realised.

Yes - I made some big mistakes :-[ however, I do have a sign MA contract however.

what are my options - i want to go there and pull them out, put i know thats the wrong thing to do. :frowning:

Can i report their SSN to credit agency’s . Do i start the eviction process - what is the eviction process for MA

Really appreciate any advise


Evict right away. You can’t report to a credit agency directly, I think you only can if you have in excess of 5000 accounts or something like that.

Being that you don’t know the eviction process, find a lawyer who does. Get him started right away, the longer you wait the longer til vacant or paid.

*I think you learned on the other points.

thanks for the replies - i have already starting researching the “notice to evict” form. What are the protocol for serving this form - is can i send it registerd mail ( certified) or should i hand delliver - how am i legally suppose to deliver this.

also - can i use a generic notice to pay rent or quit from the internet - there are quite a few of them out there or should i go with something more professional

thanks again everyone - and yes dmiller - i have learnt my lesson well, i now need to recover from it.

It varies greatly from state to state. If you mess up the process you might be set back to day 1 on the timeline so you’re better off consulting a local attorney that handles evictions.

I’d hire an attorney for the sole purpose of sending out a strong letter to the tenants. This usually creates a since of urgency no matter who you are ;D.

So i got talking to legal folks here at my company. I have located a constable and sending them a 14 day pay rent or quit notice, along with a debit collection letter. These are obvivously only letters and not eviction notices - but these are the first steps. after 14 days, if no $$$$ … then laywer and court… god i hope it does not come to that


So did you pull their credit? What you’re doing is about right. Just did my first eviction a few months ago so it can be a real pain. In my case the tenants were good for a year, then started doing drugs and missed the rent a few times. What parts of MA are you in? There’s a few other methods out there. There’s a charity that will get you a month’s rent and then there’s the RAFT program which can also get you a couple of months rent if you’re in the right area and if they qualify as it’s meant for families. The other thing I think I should have done was just told them to get out. That’s what I finally did before I was going to have a constable move all their stuff out and they did.

Just remember that you can’t charge them a late fee until it’s been more than 30 days late.


I can guarantee that it will come to an eviction. Things should never have gone this long. If you’re going to be in the rental business, you must make the tenants follow the lease or they will absolutely eat you alive. The day after the due date, you should have started the eviction process (in September). The others were absolutely right, hire a local attorney that specializes in evictions and get the eviction process started. You can not wing it or use standard forms. Everything MUST be done exactly right. Get moving - you’re just wasting time and money.

Good Luck,


I did the eviction myself. If you get an attorney it will cost you even more. As I’m familiar with the MA process, the basic steps he’s basically done.

I’ve heard the local judge speak at a property owner’s association meeting and basically you’re within your right to give a 14 day notice one day after the rent is late, but the judge doesn’t like it too much, you should wait a week and serve it on a Friday. The constable isn’t cheap either. I think mine was $59 to serve the notice. In the past that was usually enough but in my last case it didn’t work. Oh one other way to get around the constable is to have the tenant sign a receipt saying that they received the 14 day notice. This only works if they’re going to pay at some point and you tell them if they don’t sign, you’ll also sue them for the cost of the constable. The other way is to send it with delivery confirmation, don’t make them sign for it because they will know what it is and refuse to sign. Remember it’s 14 days from when they received the notice. Can’t just leave it on the door either because they could claim they never saw it because they only use the back door to go in and out.

After the 14 days expires, the constable can give you the paperwork to enter into the courthouse the following week after the 14 days. That’s why you like to do it on Friday because the entry date is usually only on a Monday. Then you get a court date which is usually like two or three weeks later. If it’s the first time, you go to mediation and maybe you can get an agreement that they’ll pay a certain amount to get caught up.

Depending on the city, there’s usually lots of programs out there that will help people from becoming homeless and pay a month or two of rent. Also if you take them to court and get a judgement against them, you can take it to small claims and that usually shows up on their credit report once you win. There are also places that pull credit that will allow you to report your tenant’s performance.


WOW! That’s exactly why I would never be a landlord in a socialist state like MA. That is the most ridiculous procedure that I’ve ever heard of and clearly every possible favor is given to the deadbeat tenant by the government. It is absolutely unbelievable that you would be forced to go to mediation! What is there to mediate - whether the tenant wants to pay the rent that he is legally obilgated to pay? RIDICULOUS! You MA landlords need to get politically active and get rid of these stupid laws and bleeding heart lawmakers.

This business is about making money (like every other business) It is not about providing free housing to scumbags and deadbeats. People have the right to spend their money as they desire. They should also have the right to be homeless if they don’t want to pay the rent. In every case where I’ve evicted someone and they became homeless, they spent the rent money on something stupid. Many spent their rent money on drugs; one spend the money on a dog; one spent the rent money on a big screen TV; and the last one spent her rent money on a cellphone! People should have the right to be stupid; make stupid decisions; and suffer the consequences for those stupid decisions.

Here’s how it works in Ohio. The day after the rent is due, I post a 3 day notice on both doors. I usually take a picture of the notices, but that isn’t required. This occurs on the 5th. If they pay after this date, they owe a $50 late fee. I don’t accept any rent at this point unless the rent AND late fee are paid in full. On the 8th, I file the eviction with the court. The court date is usually 2 or 3 weeks away. The tenant usually comes to the court proceeding so that they can give their excuses. Usually, they tell the magistrate that they have a young child and will be homeless if they are evicted. The tenant usually tells the magistrate that they will have the rent in a few days. The magistrate usually asks if I will give them a little more time and I always say ABSOLUTELY NOT! They also frequently tell the judge that I am mean because I’m making them homeless. In EVERY case, the magistrate suggests a homeless shelter and orders them evicted. By law, within 10 days a court bailiff MUST put their stuff on the curb and kick them out. Usually, this only takes about 3-5 days. Depending on how much stuff they have, I usually hire a helper and we do the setout ourselves (cheaper than paying the bailiff to do it).

I recently inherited a drug dealer and several of his drug buddies in a building that we bought. I immediately evicted them. They were such professional tenants that they allowed us to go through the whole process and thought that we would be so kind as to neatly place all their possessions on the curb so that they could haul them away. Unfortunately, my helper and I are not professional movers and we accidentally dropped many of their things. I was doing pretty good with the scumbag’s TV. I almost made it to the curb, but it was so heavy that I dropped it right in front of him and almost got his foot. Maybe next time, they’ll get their stuff out on their own!!!


Mike is absolutely right . . . this is business and any lost time being ‘nice’ to the offending party will only result in loss of money, your money. Additionally, you run the risk of losing other good tenants who will refuse to live with the scumbags and deadbeats.

And, as with any appeasement effort, you will only be giving other marginal tenants encouragement to do the same thing when they have money problems because they know they can get a few extra months out of you.

Evict quick and set the example that you’re not the one they want to play the ‘tenant runs the building game’ with . . . they can move on down the street and take advantage of someone else while you continue to upgrade your tenant profile and collect your rents.

Mike, your eviction and ‘moving’ service is very much like how we handle things here in Seattle. The day before eviction would be their moving day . . . eviction day is eviction day and never the 'twain shall meet . . . at least not with our company.

Good luck!


Oh, the mediation is voluntary. You could always say you don’t want to do it. The judge might not like that though. I did sit through one eviction where the landlord complained that this was the 4th time they were in front of judge. I think they made some sort of mistake somewhere along the way and the judge told them to fix it and come back.

Basically if everything goes your way, you can get someone out in about 8 weeks once the rent is late. The 14 day notice, an extra week, filing it in court, court date a couple of weeks later, judge agrees with you and grants eviction, another 10 days before it goes into effect, two extra days before their belongings are placed in storage for 6 months that you have to pay for. I think you actually just have to pay for the first 3 months and then after that, the tenants are supposed to pay. They get their stuff back once they pay all your back rent. I hear this rarely happens and I’ve never done it that way but that’s what you’re supposed to legally do. After six months you can then toss the stuff. Oh if the tenant knows what they’re doing, they can always push to have the court date moved back because they need time for discovery… That’s if they have a lawyer I suppose.

Oh and no late fee in MA unless it’s more than 30 days past due. No getting around it by offering discounts for paying rent early either. You can still be sued for triple damages plus attorney fees.

There are other less legal ways to get rid of tenants, it all depends how smart they are. I think I heard of one case where one landlord just took all the tenants stuff and put it outside and changed the locks. The tenant complained about it and the landlord’s response was “sue me”. Of course the tenant never did because they had other things to worry about plus it costs money to file a claim in court and they don’t have that to begin with. Only a worry with a professional tenant that knows all the laws and has some sort of ability to follow through with it. Deadbeats aren’t always the smartest people which is why they’re deadbeats.

amazing…MA is far worse when it comes to being anti-landlord than Calif.

definately does not sound like a do-it-yourself eviction situation; especially if you have never been thru it before.

About the only person I would really use would be the constable to show that you’re serious. An attorney can charge several hundred per hour and you could be in court for 2-3 hours before your case comes up and that’s just dollars ticking away.

The judge is sorta on your side if you’re just there with the tenant. If the tenant is unaware of the laws and doesn’t bring any objections, the judge won’t ask to see that you served things properly, he’ll just listen to both sides.

always better to use a lawyer for evictions. The judge may take a hardship on a tennant when the landlord is trying to evict alone. Judges rather deal with lawyers or landlords that know the procedures and paperwork neccessary. They do not have the time to tell you what do to or where to go.
I rememeber my 1st attempt to evict. I really could not afford attorney so tired myself. What a mistake. They gave the story. She was not working for 2months, no unemployement since she lost her hearing to collect, and had 2 little kids. I filed eviction papers about 15days into month. By 1st of month still didnt get a check. We went to court and cried wolf. Judge said she needs time to get on her feet and she has 2 more months to get on her feet. I was pissed. Judge granted her 4months no rent. I ran to a lawyers office, got an appeal, cost me $700bucks and she was out in 2 1/2 weeks. Asked judge few days later why I didnt get eviction 1st time around. He said your a rookie, not experienced. Hire a lawyer so I can deal with an equal in court and you will get your way. You tried to nickel and dime the legal system like she is doing to you on the rent.
I learned my lesson and now do not mind payng $500 to evict.


THAT IS ABSOLUTELY AN ABOMINATION!!! If I were you I’d be looking for that judge’s job. I’d write a letter to the editor and file a complaint with the supreme court (or whoever oversees judicial misconduct) in your state. There is absolutely NO excuse for a judge to ignore the law because he wants you to support his buddies.

I agree with you about using a lawyer for evictions - especially the first time or two.


Ditto, Mike :slight_smile:


I have come across many landlords getting screwed by judges because of the sad sob stories. You get these tennants that come in with letters showing they are trying to find jobs, saying they are not on drugs ,etc and sometimes they say, give them another month or 2 to get back on their feet. its crazy…Sometimes I wish we can be like the power company and just hit a switch and your gone like the lights…

Well there is another way…

I know someone who has been down this road many times. He now thinks he has the fastest eviction process in the country.

After working out what it costs in legals and lost rent, not to mention the aggravation, he decided to use some lateral thinking.

When he wants to evict a troublesome tenant, he knocks on the door, shows them a wad of cash, and tells them that the $800 or $1000 is theirs if they and their stuff is gone in two days and the house is (reasonably) clean.

Has worked every time, and he figures he is ahead because he hasn’t had to go through the court process, pay legals, possibly get a judge willing to give the tenant time, and he gets the place back in three or four days instead of weeks.

He bribes them to leave in other words. This guy has 200+ properties so he probably knows what he is doing…