Local renters of apartments and commercial properties are not immune to the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many residents rent and many small businesses owners do not own the building that they operate.
With so many out of work and small businesses owners forced to close due to the virus outbreak, the ability to pay rent has become harder and harder as each week passes.
Luckily there has been some relief on the state level to help renters as well as homeowners.
The House, led by House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo and Rep. Adrian Madaro, along with their colleagues 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. “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.”
Rep. Madaro said he was proud to support this comprehensive evictions and foreclosure moratorium bill.
“This legislation is necessary to protect renters, homeowners, and small landlords and businesses affected by the ongoing COVID-19 emergency,” he said. “Given that nonessential businesses have been forced to close, leaving thousands unemployed across the Commonwealth, we must swiftly ensure stability for renters and homeowners alike. I look forward to seeing this legislation finalized and signed into law”.
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 be 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.”