Massachusetts Court Records

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How Does the Massachusetts Housing Court Work?

The Massachusetts Housing Court is responsible for all matters relating to residential housing such as small claims cases, eviction cases, and civil actions involving personal injury, breach of contract, property damage, and discrimination. This also includes code enforcement actions and appeals of local zoning board decisions that affect residential housing. The Housing Court aims to promptly and fairly adjudicate all housing cases presented by litigants within its jurisdiction.

The Housing Court has jurisdiction over criminal and civil cases, comprising equitable relief, which involves the safety, health, or welfare of the tenants or owners of residential housing. The court also hears small claims cases, summary process (eviction) cases, and civil actions involving personal injury, breach of contract, property damage, discrimination, and related other claims. Furthermore, the Housing Court hears appeals of local zoning board decisions and code enforcement actions that affect residential housing.

Landlords, homeowners, and tenants may seek equitable relief in the Housing Court by obtaining restraining orders and injunctions to fulfill their rights under state laws and residential housing regulations. Also, Housing Courts have jurisdiction to hear criminal cases that enforce state sanitary or local ordinances, as well as building and fire prevention codes that regulate residential housing. Note that the jurisdiction of the housing courts does not extend to cases involving exclusively commercial properties.

Furthermore, the Housing Courts have specialists who serve as mediators for cases filed. These specialists provide the public with details on Massachusetts housing laws and assist persons who file cases in the Housing Court. Housing Court judges may assign a housing specialist to a residential property for inspection, to determine if it meets the building, sanitary, or fire prevention codes or to investigate a case in dispute. The housing specialists provide information and referrals to materials available in the court from government agencies, housing authorities, and non-profit agencies in the local community.

Housing courts assist persons with disabilities. Here, these persons may speak with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) coordinator about accommodation needed, including a hearing assistance device, a sign language interpreter, or a different time of day for the hearing. The court will then make reasonable accommodations to ensure that a person with a disability has full and equitable access to the court.

Before trial, individuals may transfer pending small claims, summary process cases, and civil cases involving residential property, from a different court to the Housing Court. However, a notice of transfer form must be filed in both courts and presented to all parties or their attorneys. Transferring an existing and pending case from another court to the Housing Court is done at zero charges. Note that criminal cases can not be transferred into the Housing Court.

The court handles small claims up to $7,000 with a simple and informal system called the Small Claims Guide and File. Here, persons can fill out the forms for small claims and file the forms electronically.

The Massachusetts Housing Court has a Chief Justice and 15 judges, who sit in six divisions, including Central, Eastern, Metro South, Northeast, Southeast, and Western. The Court judges are appointed by the Governor with approval from the judicial nominating commission and the Governor’s Council. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts judges do not have a fixed term; instead, the judges may remain in office until the compulsory retirement age of 70. The judges must be under the age of 70 and must also be citizens and residents of the United States and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In addition, all judges must be state bar members in good standing; and must have some years of legal experience and training.

Massachusetts judges may be removed through any of these three ways:

  • With the Governor’s Council’s approval following the joint address of both houses of the general court. The Governor, with the consent of the Governor’s Council, may also retire judges if the judges become mentally or physically incapable of judicial duty
  • Recommendation of reprimand, retirement, or removal, to the supreme judicial court after a formal hearing to investigated complaints of judicial misconduct against a judge
  • Impeachment by the house of representatives and conviction by the senate

Interested persons may access Massachusetts Housing Court records that have not been impounded. The records are available at the clerk’s office during business hours (8:30 am - 4:30 pm). Also, limited information about these cases is available online or on the public access computers located in the clerk’s office of each court.

The contact information for each Massachusetts Housing Court is as follows:

Central Housing Court - Dudley Session 

279 West Main Street, Dudley District Court, Dudley, MA 01571 

The Dudley session of the Housing Court’s Central Division serves Charlton, Dudley, Oxford, Sturbridge, Southbridge, and Webster

Telephone: (508) 831–2050

Central Housing Court - Leominster Session 

25 School Street, Leominster District Court, Leominster, MA 01453 

The Leominster session of the Housing Court’s Central Division serves Ashburnham, Athol, Fitchburg, Gardner, Hubbardston, Holden, Leominster, Lunenberg, Petersham, Princeton, Phillipston, Royalston, Templeton, Westminster, and Winchendon.

Telephone: (508) 831–2050

Central Housing Court - Marlborough Session 

45 Williams Street, Marlborough District Court, Marlborough, MA 01752 

The Marlborough session of the Housing Court’s Central Division serves Ashland, Berlin, Bolton, Framingham, Harvard, Hopkinton, Holliston, Hudson, Marlborough, Natick, Northborough, Sherborn, Sudbury, Southborough, Wayland, and Westborough.

Telephone: (508) 831–2050

Central Housing Court - Worcester Session 

225 Main Street, Worcester, MA 01608 

The Worcester session of the Housing Court’s Central Division serves Auburn, Barre, Bellingham, Blackstone, Brookfield, Boylston, Clinton, Douglas, East Brookfield, Grafton, Hardwick, Hopedale, Lancaster, Leicester, Mendon, Milford, Millville, Millbury, New Braintree, Northbridge, North Brookfield, Oxford, Oakham, Paxton, Rutland, Shrewsbury, Spencer, Sterling, Sutton, Uxbridge, Upton, Warren, West Boylston, and Worcester.

Telephone: (508) 831–2050

Eastern Housing Court 

24 New Chardon Street, Boston, MA 02114 

The Eastern Division of the Housing Court serves Brookline and Boston.

Telephone: (617) 788–8485

Eastern Housing Court - Chelsea Session 

120 Broadway, Chelsea, MA 02150 

This court is situated in Chelsea District Court. Mondays are the regular weekly sitting,which serves Revere, Chelsea, Winthrop, and East Boston.

Telephone: (617) 788–8485

Eastern Housing Court - Middlesex Session 

175 Fellsway, Somerville, MA 02145 

Fridays are the regular weekly sittings, which serve Cambridge, Arlington, Belmont, Medford, Newton, and Somerville.

Telephone: (617) 788–8485

Metro South Housing Court - Brockton Session  

215 Main Street, Suite 160, Brockton, MA 02301 

This court serves Abington, Brockton, Bridgewater, East Bridgewater, West Bridgewater, and Whitman.

The Metro South Housing Court - Canton Session serves Avon, Braintree, Bellingham, Canton, Cohasset, Dedham, Dover, Foxborough, Franklin, Holbrook, Medfield, Medway, Millis, Milton, Needham, Norfolk, Norwood, Plainville, Quincy, Randolph, Sharon, Stoughton, Walpole, Wellesley, Westwood, Weymouth, and Wrentham.

Phone: (508) 894–4170

Metro South Housing Court - Canton Session   

35 Shawmut Road, Canton, MA 02021 

The court serves Avon, Bellingham, Braintree, Canton, Cohasset, Dedham, Dover, Franklin, Foxborough, Holbrook, Medfield, Medway, Milton, Millis, Needham, Norfolk, Norwood, Plainville, Quincy, Randolph, Sharon, Stoughton, Walpole, Westwood, Wellesley, Weymouth, and Wrentham

Phone: (508) 894–4170

Northeast Housing Court - Lawrence Session  

2 Appleton Street, 2nd Floor, Lawrence, MA 01840 

The Lawrence Session of the Northeast Housing Court serves Amesbury, Andover, Boxford, Georgetown, Groveland, Haverhill, Lawrence, Methuen, Merrimac, Newbury, Newburyport, North Andover, Rowley, Salisbury, and West Newbury.

Phone: (978) 689–7833

Northeast Housing Court - Lowell Session  

370 Jackson Street, Lowell, MA 01852 

The Lowell session of the Northeast Housing Court serves Acton, Ashby, Ayer, Billerica, Boxborough, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Devens, Dunstable, Dracut, Groton, Littleton, Lowell, Maynard, Pepperell, Shirley, Stow, Tewksbury, Tyngsborough, Townsend, and Westford.

Phone: (978) 689–7833

Northeast Housing Court - Lynn Session  

56 Federal Street, Salem, MA 01970 

The Lynn session of the Northeast Housing Court is located in Salem and serves Lynn, Nahant, and Saugus.

Phone: (978) 825–4920

Northeast Housing Court - Salem Session  

56 Federal Street, Salem, MA 01970 

The Salem session of the Northeast Housing Court serves Beverly, Danvers, Essex, Gloucester, Hamilton, Ipswich, Lynnfield, Marblehead, Manchester-by-The-Sea, Middleton, Peabody, Rockport, Salem, Swampscott, Topsfield, and Wenham.

Phone: (978) 825–4920

Northeast Housing Court - Woburn Session  

200 Trade Center, Courtroom 540 - 5th Floor, Woburn, MA 01801 

The Woburn session of the Northeast Housing Court serves Bedford, Burlington, Concord, Everett, Lincoln, Lexington, Malden, Melrose, North Reading, Reading, Stoneham, Wakefield, Watertown, Waltham, Weston, Wilmington, Winchester, and Woburn. For Housing Court matters, information, or questions, call the Northeast Housing Court’s principal Clerk’s Office in Lawrence at (978) 689–7833.

Phone: (978) 689–7833

Southeast Housing Court - Fall River Session  

289 Rock Street, Fall River, MA 02720 

The Fall River Session of the Southeast Housing Court serves Freetown, Westport, Fall River, Somerset, and Swansea.

Phone: (508) 677–1505

Southeast Housing Court - New Bedford Session  

139 Hathaway Road, New Bedford, MA 02746 

The New Bedford Session of the Southeast Housing Court serves Acushnet, Dartmouth, Fairhaven, Freetown, New Bedford, and Westport.

Phone: (508) 994–0156

Southeast Housing Court - Plymouth Session  

52 Obery Street, Plymouth, MA 02360 

The Plymouth session of the Southeast Housing Court serves Aquinnah, Barnstable, Bourne, Brewster, Carver, Chilmark, Chatham, Dennis, Duxbury, Edgartown, Falmouth, Halifax, Hanson, Harwich, Kingston, Lakeville, Marion, Marshfield, Mashpee, Mattapoisett, Middleborough, Nantucket, Oak Bluffs, Pembroke, Plymouth, Plympton, Provincetown, Rochester, Sandwich, and Wareham.

The Plymouth session of the Southeast Housing Court also serves Accord, Assinippi, Hanover, Hingham, Hull, Humarock, Norwell, Rockland, and Scituate for summary process cases and all other civil and criminal matters.

Phone: (508) 747–8550

Southeast Housing Court - Taunton Session  

40 Broadway, Taunton, MA 02780 

The Taunton Session of the Southeast Housing Court serves Attleboro, Berkley, Dighton, Easton, Mansfield, North Attleborough, Norton, Raynham, Rehoboth, Seekonk, and Taunton.

Phone: (508) 977–4950

Western Housing Court - Greenfield Session  

43 Hope Street, Greenfield, MA 01301 

The Western Housing Court in Greenfield serves Ashfield, Bernardston, Buckland, Charlemont, Colrain, Conway, Deerfield, Erving, Gill, Greenfield, Hawley, Heath, Leverett, Leyden, Montague, Monroe, New Salem, Northfield, Orange, Rowe, Shelburne, Shutesbury, Sunderland, Warwick, Wendell, and Whately.

Phone: (413) 748–7838

Western Housing Court - Hadley Session  

116 Russell Street, Hadley, MA 01035 

The Hadley session of the Western Housing Court serves Amherst, Belchertown, Chesterfield, Cummington, Easthampton, Goshen, Granby, Hadley, Hatfield, Huntington, Middlefield, Northampton, Pelham, Plainfield, South Hadley, Southampton, Ware, Westhampton, Williamsburg, and Worthington.

Phone: (413) 748–7838

Western Housing Court - Pittsfield Session  

76 East Street, Room 2, Pittsfield, MA 01201 

The Pittsfield session of the Western Housing Court serves cities and towns in Berkshire County on Wednesday mornings.

Phone: (413) 748–7838

Western Housing Court - Springfield Session  

37 Elm Street, P. O. Box 559, Springfield, MA 01102 

The Western Housing Court in Springfield serves Agawam, Blandford, Brimfield, Chester, Chicopee, East Longmeadow, Granville, Hampden, Holland, Holyoke, Longmeadow, Ludlow, Monson, Montgomery, Palmer, Russell, Southwick, Springfield, Tolland, Wales, West Springfield, Westfield, and Wilbraham.

Phone: (413) 748–7838

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