This page is here to provide tenants with information regarding their rights. We recognize that the problem of affordable housing is state-wide and, while some portions of this site may seem specific to Boston, our goal is for most of the content to be equally relevant to any tenant in Massachusetts – because access to statewide information is a first step towards statewide action. Please use the links below.
Legal information on housing rights
The housing section of the Web site for MassLegalHelp has lots of information about tenants’ rights in Massachusetts. You will find self-help forms, sample letters, booklets, handbooks, and frequently asked questions.
Guidance for tenant organizing
City Life/Vida Urbana wrote this easy-to-understand instruction guide in 2000 to show tenants how to regain control of their housing situations. Look here for basic concepts and strategies.
Mass Law Reform Institute Legal Self Help Booklets
Booklet 1 Protecting Yourself in an Eviction (January 2022)
What steps to take before going to court and what to bring to court.
Booklet 2 Housing Code Checklist (March 2021)
An easy-to-use checklist that tells you what conditions violate the State Sanitary Code. You can also use the free self-help guided interview, MADE: Up To Code.
Booklet 3 The Answer (January 2022)
The Answer is a court form that tenants facing evictions can file with the court to outline your legal claims and tell the court your side of the story. You can also use Greater Boston Legal Services’ free self-help guided interview, MADE.
Booklet 3A Late Answer & Discovery (January 2022)
How to ask the court to accept your Answer and Discovery forms late. You can also use Greater Boston Legal Services’ free self-help guided interview, MADE.
Booklet 4 Discovery (January 2022)
A form with instructions for tenants facing eviction to get information to prepare for their trial.
Booklet 4A Tenant Foreclosure Discovery (May 2019)
A form with instructions for tenants in foreclosed properties to get information to prepare their case.
Booklet 5 Transfer (January 2022)
A form you can file to transfer your eviction case from a District Court to a Housing Court.
Booklet 6 Removing Default (January 2022)
How to get a new court date if you missed your court date.
If you lost your eviction trial and think you have a good case, you may appeal. This document tells you which Appeal form to use.
Booklet 7A Appeals In All Housing Courts (June 2017)
How to file an appeal from a case in Housing Court.
Booklet 7B Appeals In All District Courts (June 2017)
How to file an appeal from a case in District Court.
How to get time to stay in your home if you lost your case.
Booklet 9 Affidavit of Indigency (January 2022)
How to ask the court to pay for court costs.
Booklet 10 Negotiating a Settlement of Your Case (March 2018)
How to think through the terms you want in an agreement. Includes a worksheet and stipulation forms to use when you go to court. Read this booklet as webpages and watch the videos!
Booklet 11 Error Correction Booklet (June 2017)
How to correct errors on your online court records. Booklet includes the court form you can save to your computer, fill out, save again and print when ready.
Greivance Booklet: Using Your Public Housing Grievance Process
A booklet for tenants in Mass. about the grievance process, including worksheets to help you prepare for a grievance hearing.