Housing Court Found Three Times as Likely as District Court to Have Eviction Exceed 90 Days

Today MassLandlords released a study that found significant differences in eviction cases between Housing Court and District Court. Housing Court cases were 18% more likely to have judgments over $10,000, and three times more likely to exceed 90 days’ duration.

The results are surprising because both types of courts must decide eviction cases under the same laws.

The data were released on the heels of the Just Cause Eviction hearing in the City of Boston, at which Sheila Dillon, Director of the Department of Neighborhood Development, called for more data on evictions. Tenant advocates argued that the laws as they stand are inadequate protection against eviction.

State-wide, the average eviction was found to take over 55 days to resolve. The longest eviction studied took over 15 months.

Skip Schloming, Executive Director of the Small Property Owners Association in Cambridge, said, “This is a really important study.”

The study examined over 8,000 publicly available court records. It bears on the upcoming decision about whether to expand Housing Court to areas of the state that are served only by District Courts.

MassLandlords Executive Director Doug Quattrochi said, “Before we expand Housing Court, we should understand why we’re doing it. Housing Court mediation can be fast, but overall Housing Court tends to be slower. District Court decisions are faster and probably better overall, because tenants leave owing less.”

The study showed that District Court cases tend to result in less debt from tenant to landlord.

The study may be viewed at MassLandlords.net/policy/evictions.

The study is MassLandlords’ first study to have this level of statistical rigor. It was produced as a non-partisan resource for policy makers.

MassLandlords is a 501(c)6 trade association that helps landlords and advocates for better laws. It was launched in early 2014 following the restructuring of the Worcester Property Owners Association (WPOA), founded originally in the 1940’s.