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General Laws

Section 5. (a) If either party appeals from a judgment of the superior court, a housing court, or a district court in an action under this chapter, including a judgment on a counterclaim, that party shall file a notice of appeal with the court within 10 days after the entry of the judgment. An execution upon a judgment rendered pursuant to section 3 shall not issue until the expiration of 10 days after the entry of the judgment.

(b) In an appeal of a judgment of a district court, other than an appeal governed by subsection (c), the appellant shall, before any appeal under this section is allowed, file in the district court a bond payable to the appellee in the penal sum of $100, with surety or sureties as approved by the court, or secured by cash or its equivalent deposited with the clerk, conditioned to satisfy any judgment for costs which may be entered against the appellant in the appellate division within 30 days after the entry thereof.

(c) Except as provided in section 6, the defendant shall, before any appeal under this section is allowed from a judgment of the superior court, a housing court, or a district court, rendered for the plaintiff for the possession of the land or tenements demanded in a case in which the plaintiff continues at the time of establishment of bond to seek to recover possession, give bond in a sum as the court orders, payable to the plaintiff, with sufficient surety or sureties approved by the court, or secured by cash or its equivalent deposited with the clerk, in a reasonable amount to be fixed by the court. In an appeal from a judgment of a district court the bond shall be conditioned to enter the action in the appellate division at the return day next after the appeal is taken. In an appeal from a judgment of the superior court or a housing court the bond filed shall be conditioned to enter the action in the appeals court. Appeals from judgments of the superior court or a housing court shall otherwise be governed by the Massachusetts Rules of Appellate Procedure. The bond shall also be conditioned to pay to the plaintiff, if final judgment is in plaintiff’s favor, all rent accrued at the date of the bond, all intervening rent, and all damage and loss which the plaintiff may sustain by the withholding of possession of the land or tenements demanded and by any injury done thereto during the withholding, with all costs, until delivery of possession thereof to the plaintiff.

(d) In appeals from a judgment of the superior court, a housing court or a district court the deposit shall not be transmitted to the appeals court or the appellate division unless specifically requested by said appeals court or appellate division. The superior court, a housing court or a district court may give directions as to the manner of keeping the deposit. Upon final judgment for the plaintiff, all money then due to him may be recovered in an action on the bond provided for in the third paragraph of this section.

(e) A party may make a motion to waive the appeal bond provided for in this section if the party is indigent as provided in section 27A of chapter 261. The motion shall, together with a notice of appeal and any supporting affidavits, be filed within the time limits set forth in this section. The court shall waive the requirement of the bond or security if it is satisfied that the person requesting the waiver has any defense which is not frivolous and is indigent as provided in said section 27A of said chapter 261. The court shall require any person for whom the bond or security provided for in subsection (c) has been waived to pay in installments as the same becomes due, pending appeal, all or any portion of any rent which shall become due after the date of the waiver. A court shall not require the person to make any other payments or deposits. The court shall forthwith make a decision on the motion. If the motion is made, no execution shall issue until the expiration of 6 days from the court’s decision on the motion or until the expiration of the time specified in this section for the taking of appeals, whichever is later.

(f) Any party aggrieved by the denial of a motion to waive the bond or who wishes to contest the amount of periodic payments required by the court may seek review of the decision as hereinafter provided. If the motion was made in the superior court or a housing court, the request for review shall be to the single justice of the appeals court at the next sitting thereof. If the motion was made in any district or municipal court, the request for review shall be to the appellate division then sitting pursuant to section 108 of chapter 231. The court receiving the request shall review the findings, the amount of bond or deposit, if any, and the amount of periodic payment required, if any, as if it were initially deciding the matter, and the court may withdraw or amend any finding or reduce or rescind any amount of bond, deposit or periodic payment when in its judgment the facts so warrant.

(g) Any party to the action may file a request for the review with the clerk of the court originally hearing the request to waive bond within the time period provided in this section for filing notice of appeal, or within 6 days after receiving notice of the decision of the court on the motion to waive bond, whichever is the later. The court shall then forward the motion, the court’s findings and any other documents relevant to the appeal to the clerk of the court reviewing the decision which, upon receipt thereof, shall schedule a speedy hearing thereon and send notice thereof to the parties. Any request for review filed pursuant to this section shall be heard upon statements of counsel, memoranda and affidavits submitted by the parties. Further testimony shall be taken if the reviewing court shall find that the taking of further testimony would aid the disposition of the review.

(h) Upon the rendering of a decision on review, the reviewing court shall give notice of the decision to the parties and the defendant shall comply with the requirements of the decision within 5 days after receiving notice thereof. If the defendant fails to file with the clerk of the court rendering the judgment, the amount of bond, deposit or periodic payment required by the decision of the reviewing court within 5 days from receipt of notice of the decision, the appeal from the judgment shall be dismissed. Where a defendant seeks review pursuant to this section, no execution shall issue until the expiration of 5 days from the date defendant has received notice of the decision of the reviewing court.

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