How is process served, in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts?
Personal Service in Massachusetts: is by serving documents to the individual being served in three ways; in-hand ; or by leaving copies thereof at the individual last and usual place of abode; or by delivering a copy to an agent authorized by appointment or by statute to receive service of process.(copies of the documents are always served)
In-hand Service: consists of a Constable or Process Server going to the last known address of the person being served and handing the document to the person being served at his last known address(Last and Usual Place of Abode).
*A “last and usual” Service consists of a Constable or Process Server going to the last known address of the person being served, and if the individual is not home, leaving the document at the house or apartment this can be done by:(substitute service, leaving with someone of suitable age and discretion or Posting or placing under the door). In this type of service, a copy of the documents is also mailed to the individual by First Class mail.
Out of State Process: has to be served under their Rules of Civil Procedures. Example: If process from NJ. Needs to be served in Ma. It must be served in compliance with the NJ. Rules of Civil Procedures. Personal service for out of state service means in-hand only.
What are the fees for service?
There is a fee involved for the delivery of all civil process, which depends on the type of service, the type of document, the number of individuals being served, and the town or city that it is being delivered to. Please call for the cost of a particular service.
How do I know when my papers have been served?
After the service has been completed, will notify the client either by phone or e-mail the time and date of service. Then a return of service will be filled out for the document(s), which is an affidavit stating the Time and Date of service and how it was served (i.e. In-hand or last and Usual). The affidavit will be attached to the original document(s) and the original will be returned directly to the Plaintiff and/or Attorney. Copies of the document are always served.
What should I do if I have a Capias?
Plaintiffs and Attorneys who have gone to court and have been issued a Capias against a Defendant for funds owed can either send us the Capias to our office or have us pick it up with the fee for service. We will make all possible attempts to contact the Defendant, by telephone and mail and by visits to the individual’s home and workplace, if necessary, to either set the Defendant up for a court date or to collect the entire amount owed. If we arrange a court date with the Defendant, we will contact the other parties involved in the case so that they can make arrangements to be in court on that date. If the amount owed is collected in full, we will either call you or send you a check for the amount.
If all attempts to collect the money and to get the Defendant into court have been unsuccessful, you can opt to have the individual arrested for an additional fee. The Defendant can be arrested at home or a workplace.( Please be aware, however, that a Physical Arrest will only guarantee that we will get the Defendant into court – we have no control over any judicial decisions or payments once he or she is in court. Furthermore, if you have a Capias against a business or organization, it will be necessary to go to court and have an individual’s name added to the Capias in order to make a Physical Arrest. )
In order to properly enforce the Capias, we will need:
The original Capias
Address of home or work of the Defendant (Any additional information you can provide will also be very helpful – such as his/her phone number, workplace, SS, DOB and or a current picture if applicable etc.
(We Do not Accept any Capias or any Civil Process that has a P.O Box; it has to be a physical address.)
Your contact information
Total amount owed by the Defendant.
COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ABOUT EVICTIONS
What is Summary Process?
It is another name for "Evictions"
What court do I file at?
Whatever court has jurisdiction (Housing or District) that covers the venue were the RENTAL PROPERTY is located.
Do I need a lawyer?
It is always best, but not necessary.
What is the difference between a 14 & 30-day notice?
A 14-day notice is generally for non-payment of rent, and if the tenant were to pay, they would be allowed to stay. A 30-day notice is usually to end tenancy.
My tenants moved after my notice but they still have stuff in the apartment, what do I do?
If the tenant has not given you written permission to discard the rest of their possessions then
you should proceed with the normal eviction process.
Who can help me fill out the Summary Process Summons & Complaint?
It is illegal for a Constable to fill in the summons, but may assist you in filling it out.
Where do I get the Summons & Complaint?
From the court for a fee or the Constable may have them available.
Can I just change the locks or move my tenant’s belongings out?
IT IS ILLEGAL FOR A LANDLORD TO SELF EVICT. A LANDLORD MAY NOT JUST CHANGE THE LOCKS OR MOVE THE TENANT'S BELONGINGS. THIS WOULD RESULT IN A MAJOR LEGAL ISSUE. ALL EVICTIONS MUST BE HANDLED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE LAW. ONLY A CONSTABLE OR DEPUTY SHERIFF MAY HAVE THE TENANT'S BELONGINGS MOVED. THE BELONGINGS MUST BE PLACED IN A WAREHOUSE REGISTERED WITH THE DEPT. OF PUBLIC SAFETY AND NOT JUST ANY STORAGE PLACE.
Summary Process "Evictions" can be difficult, time consuming and expensive but must be done properly to avoid legal trouble with your tenants. So what are the procedures?
Well, depending on the reason why you wish to evict your tenant(s), you must serve them with either a 14 or 30-day notice. If the tenant has failed to comply with the notice by the end of the 14 or 30 day's, then you may have them served with a Summons and Complaint for an eviction hearing by a Constable. After the Summons and Complaint has been served, you must file it with the court at least seven days and no more than 30 days after the date of service however, it usually must be on a Monday depending on the court. After it has been filed, the tenant must file an answer to your complaint by the first Monday after the filing date. Your hearing will be the second Thursday after the filing date. If you are successful and are awarded judgment, you will be issued an "Execution for Possession" which is the court order to have them physically removed. After receiving this document, you must contact a Constable or Deputy Sheriff to serve it. The Fees for the Constable or Deputy Sheriff are not part of the moving companies’ fees. This can be costly and generally is.
The Moving Company fees will vary depending on size, floor it is on, amount of furniture and other variations. You can expect to spend between $200 and 400 on a Constable and $850 plus on a moving company.