Open Letter to the Chief Justice of MA Housing Court

Recently I had a tenant who signed an Agreement to leave by a specific date but failed to do so even though per the Agreement he was not required to pay rent for 3 months while he was looking for a new apartment so he had the chance to “save” money to put down on the new apartment.

On the back page of the standard Agreement there is a paragraph that says that if the tenants have not vacated by a specific date, the landlord can request the Execution in writing.Agreement p2

Worcester Housing Branch told me that if this paragraph is selected it means that I just need to mail an Application for Execution and alert the tenant.

Western Housing Branch made me come for a hearing pretending to not understand what this paragraph means. They are insisting that the only way I could apply by Application is if I had hand-written it as part of the Agreement ignoring the fact that all the pre-written paragraphs on the front and back of the Agreement are already part of the Agreement.

I had to waste time to serve the tenant on Monday, then go to Springfield court to file the Motion for Hearing (3.5 hours back and forth driving), then on Friday wake up early, drive 1.5 hours to go to Greenfield for a Hearing 1.5 hours back. On top of everything the judge fell for the tenant’s sob story and gave him another month if he paid the rent for that month the day of the hearing (because if a tenant fails to pay rent and leave in 3 months, what they must need is more time! :). Since the tenant did not pay the August rent the day of the hearing (Friday), I had to repeat the same process – serve the tenant with another Motion on Monday, deliver it to Springfield, then on Friday go to another court hearing in Greenfield, another two days wasted.

Can you please fix this inconsistency between branches and communicate it to all branches? If a tenant overstays a date agreed in these standard Agreements, then only an Application for Execution is needed, no need to clog an already clogged Housing Court with extra Hearings.

Clearly the Worcester Clerk’s Office knew about this, while the Western Housing Clerk’s office did not know.

If necessary please modify the Standard Agreement by adding the words “by Application for Execution” at the end of the two sentence paragraph so it’s clear to all branches what this paragraph is for.


He responded:

2016-09-27 response from Chief Justice


I replied with a 2nd letter because he was avoiding answering my first:

2016-09-28 2nd letter to Justice Sullivan


and he replied: 2016-10-24 Chief Justice replied again


Unfortunately, he de facto chose to support the Western Housing Court. I called all the other housing courts and they are all doing it as the Worcester Court so clearly Justice Sullivan is afraid to rock the boat at Western Housing court and to standardize procedures which is his job. Too bad. It doesn’t look like he will be a strong Administrator.