The following is a compilation of some useful information about the Boston Housing Court. Potential litigants may also be interested in this brief overview of the evictions process, which applies to all of the housing courts in Massachusetts, as well as this description of some of the more common motions litigants might file in housing court.
General information about the Courthouse
The Boston Housing Court is in the Edward W. Brooke courthouse at 24 New Chardon St. in Boston. You will need to pass through security so avoid bringing any weapons or other items that might slow you down at the metal detectors. Once inside, the clerk’s office for housing is on the third floor – staff there are very helpful and can answer questions about procedures as well provide forms for litigants to file with the court. The housing courtrooms are on the fifth floor – courtrooms 10 and 12. Note that this is a change that started in September 2016 – the courtrooms used to be 14 and 15. There is a snack bar on the first floor of the courthouse and bathrooms are located on each floor by the elevators.
Thursday – Summary Process Evictions
The Boston Housing Court hears summary process eviction cases on Thursdays and there are generally between 150 and 250 such cases scheduled each week. While this sounds like a lot, the system is actually fairly efficient at getting through all of them by the end of the day. On Thursdays, litigants should plan to arrive early at the courthouse as the line to get through security can be long – it is a good idea to get there around 8:30. All of the housing cases are heard in courtrooms 10 and 12 on the fifth floor. Typically, summary process cases that are scheduled for motion hearings are called in courtroom 12 and cases that are scheduled for trial are called in courtroom 10. At some time between 9:00 and 9:30, litigants should go into their assigned courtroom where they will hear an overview of the evictions process from a judge followed by the call of the case list by the clerk. At this point, each case will be assigned either to a judge or to mediation. The term “mediation” is used loosely as it can include informal negotiations in the hallway or formal mediation with a housing specialist on the third floor. Click here for more details about summary process evictions. Note that there are tables outside of courtroom 10 that are staffed by volunteer attorneys on Wednesdays and Thursdays. These attorneys can often provide free advice to litigants at the housing court and may sometimes provide additional legal assistance to low-income individuals.
Wednesday – Boston Housing Authority evictions and other motions
BHA cases are generally scheduled for Wednesdays. The procedure is the same as that described above.