House Passes Legislation to Protect Massachusetts Residents from Evictions and Foreclosures

BOSTON, APR. 2, 2020 – On April 2, House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo and State Representative Bill Driscoll, Jr. (D-Milton) along with their colleagues in the House of Representatives passed legislation to set a moratorium on most residential and commercial evictions and residential foreclosures during the COVID-19 State of Emergency and for 30 days after it ends.

“During these unprecedented times, we need to do whatever we can to keep people healthy, safe and in their homes,” said Speaker DeLeo (D – Winthrop). “This legislation shields tenants and homeowners from economic insecurity during and immediately after the period of the state of emergency. I thank Chairs Honan and Michlewitz for their work with members and stakeholders in putting together this bill, which will enhance public health and provide relief during this pandemic.”

The legislation includes the following provisions.

  • Establishes a moratorium on most residential and commercial evictions within the Commonwealth for the duration of the State of Emergency and 30 days after the State of Emergency ends.

  • Landlords may not charge late fees or send reports to credit rating agencies if a tenant notifies the landlord within 30 days of a late payment that the non-payment of rent is due to a financial impact related to the COVID-19 emergency.

  • Prohibits landlords from sending “notice to quit” letters for the duration of the State of Emergency and 30 days after the State of Emergency is terminated.

  • Establishes a moratorium on foreclosure actions for the duration of the State of Emergency and 30 days after the State of Emergency ends.

  • Allows for video conferencing during the State of Emergency for reverse mortgage loans. Current mandates require in-person consultations for these loans.

  • Emergency evictions may proceed during the moratorium for actions that involve allegations of criminal activity or substantial lease violations that may detrimental to public health or public safety.

“During these difficult times we need to be cognizant of our most vulnerable populations and ensure that people will not lose their homes due to the effects of COVID-19,” said Representative Aaron Michlewitz, Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Ways & Means (D-Boston). “This bill offers much needed relief on this front.”

"The bill passed by the House of Representatives today is not just a housing safety bill, but a collective safety bill," said Representative Kevin G. Honan, Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Housing (D-Boston). "As residents across the Commonwealth are urged to shelter in place and practice social distancing, housing stability has never been more important. Not only does a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures protect tenants across Massachusetts, but it protects us all as we work together to flatten the curve and stop the spread of COVID-19. No one should have to worry about losing their home during a public health crisis."

The bill will now go to the Senate.


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© 2019 William Driscoll, Jr.