Under Massachusetts law, may I evict my tenant for smelly trash?

Additional Information:
I am a landlord in Newton, Massachusetts and have a tenant that I want to evict because she has rubbish and trash and dishes piled up everywhere. The smell invades my life. I would like to evict her not only for non-payment of rent (she has a long history of being 2 to 3 weeks late) but also because I am tired of the house being trashed. I live in a duplex in Newton and she is a tenant at will.

Attorney Answer:
I would not rely on either non-payment or accumulation of trash as grounds for eviction. Rather, I would proceed to terminate the tenancy at will and then follow that up with a complaint for eviction. If the tenant pays her rent (or is supposed to pay her rent) monthly and on the first of the month, you can terminate the tenancy as of June 30 if you have her served with a notice of termination on or before May 31. But the notice needs to have certain magical language and is best served by a constable.

Just to round out the analysis, you don’t want to use trash as a basis for eviction because (a) she might “see the light” and remedy the problem as soon as she receives notice and (b) judges see trash-related reasons for eviction as generally being flimsy.

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