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CalAttorney2
CalAttorney2, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 10244
Experience:  I am a civil litigation attorney with experience representing both landlords and tenants in residential and commercial property disputes.
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Our attorney sent our tenants a 14-day Notice To Quit. It is

Customer Question

Our attorney sent our tenants a 14-day Notice To Quit. It is our understanding that they have 10-days to pay the rent for the month of May. If they don't, then they need to be out within 14-days. Is this correct? Does that mean that we can go to our house
and change the locks on the 15th day as well as get it cleaned up and ready to show to new potential tenants? What if we go to the house and they are still there? There is a lot of work that needs to be done because they have not kept the place up, they have
3 dogs that they didn't pick up after, etc. Unfortunately, our attorney has not returned our call as of yet and we need to know how to proceed. Thanks!
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 2 years ago.
What state is this in? (The deadline to pay is slightly different, but in most cases, a notice to "pay or quit" means that the tenant must pay within the timeline or vacate the unit).No state allows "self help" measures - so you cannot change out the locks. If your tenant fails to pay or vacate, you will then have to file an unlawful detainer ("eviction") lawsuit against your tenant and get a judgment of possession, at which point the court will issue a "writ of eviction" and a sheriff will oversee a forcible eviction where you hire movers and a sheriff or constable will arrive and your tenant will forcibly be removed from the property.The tenant is going to be liable for reimbursing you for these costs.In most cases, the tenant will vacate long before you have to go through the forcible detainer process, but if you do, the process is a "summary proceeding" taking between 4-8 weeks depending on whether or not the tenant appears in court and contests the matter.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Massachusetts.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
So, even if they vacate and we are able to get into our house, we can't change the locks?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Obviously, the only way we would get into the house is if they were gone and moved out. We would never just enter and do anything. Should we attempt to contact them to ask what their intentions/plans are or is that inappropriate?
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 2 years ago.
If your tenants vacate the unit you have a right to enter/change locks/etc. (the law prohibits "self help" measures - changing locks to force your tenants to leave) my apologies for the confusion.
You can contact your tenants and ask what their intentions are - although in my experience this is not likely to be productive. Most tenants are likely to vacate prior to having a suit filed against them - it is far harder to obtain a new rental after a publicly available court action is filed against them.
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 2 years ago.
Here are the "step by step" eviction procedures for Massachusetts: http://www.mass.gov/courts/selfhelp/housing/eviction-landlords.html
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
We wanted to know what we can/can't do once the 14-days is up? According to the notice, they must vacate in 14-days if they don't pay the rent within 10 days. Does this mean that we can go on to our property at that time? What do we do if they are still there? Do we continue to send them invoices every month until we find a tenant, since they are responsible for rent until November 2015 or until we get a new tenant?
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 2 years ago.
You can go onto the property under the same rules (give reasonable notice (usually 24 hours) and for reasonable purposes - to perform necessary repairs, to show the property, etc.).
You are only prohibited from taking "self help" measures - doing things to force the tenant to leave (turning off the water, changing the locks, or annoying the tenants with unnecessary and frequent entry into the property).
Your attorney will be able to best advise you regarding the financial damages portion for unpaid rent going forward - this is usually dealt with in a subsequent suit for damages brought after you get possession as opposed to sending repeated invoices, but your attorney will be able to advise you based on the specific circumstances of your case/contract.

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