Letter from the Executive Director for April 2024: Oppose Eviction Sealing

Stop Eviction Sealing, Debt Cancelation
June 2024 update: We filed testimony against this terrible bill. We didn't speak loudly enough. It has been recommended "ought to pass." You have to help us turn up the volume. Tell your representatives and senators that it won't just be landlords mad at them. It will be the 96% of good renters who suddenly find their next door neighbors are smoking in a no-smoking building, loud and disruptive, or violent. These things will all be impossible to screen when no-cause-stated evictions are sealed.

Watch our four minute video.

In March, we broadcast our opposition to eviction sealing in the HOMES Act (193 H.4356) and the Housing Bond Bill (193 H.4138). We also worked very hard on some medium-term projects to improve our training presence in search results and to update our rental forms.

Eviction sealing absorbed most of our time by far. They propose to block public access to MassCourts.org so landlords cannot use evictions in background checks. To make matters worse, the latest bill text also contains a debt cancellation pathway. This would eliminate up to $700 million of judgments going back 20 years and millions each month going forward. Watch our 4-minute video for details. We are also asking you to engage your renters.

Engaging renters on this issue is extremely important. The so-called renter advocates have proudly testified to the legislature that they have been taken to court many, many times. But the most recent data shows that 96% of renters avoid court each year. Of those taken to court, they have won only 29 out of 8,617 cases decided (2021 outcomes). Eviction for any reason indicates a problem, including so-called “no fault” evictions. “No fault” really means "no cause stated," and it doesn’t mean the renter was blameless. It just means the landlord couldn't meet evidentiary standards in court. Usually good renters are afraid or unable to testify against their bad neighbors.

Eviction is most often different from poverty. Housing providers fight poverty on a daily basis by arranging rental assistance, signing new roommates or negotiating move-outs. Eviction means the parties stopped being able to talk to one another. Sometimes landlords are to blame. But not usually.

If eviction sealing passes, it will be the good renters who suffer most. Problems like smoking in a no-smoking building, unlawful use of firearms, noise and worse will all become state-enabled as bad renters bounce from sealed eviction to sealed eviction.

So please, follow our instructions and ask your renters to write to their representatives and senators opposed to both H.4356 and H.4138.

Switching gears to talk about operations:  March was a foundation-building month. We firmed up plans to offer the option of paying dues monthly. We also revised our notices to quit and rental application internally, new versions to come out next month. Our phone screening prompt sheet was also revised and is now available.

We have also been working hard to reorganize the way our events appear on our website. We produce many great training opportunities. Soon we’ll be easier to find online.

Thank you for supporting our mission to create better rental housing. We've got your back only because you've got ours. Please join as a member, encourage others to join, become a property rights supporter or increase your level of support. We aim to hire both a full-time educator and policy advocate.


Douglas Quattrochi

Executive Director

MassLandlords, Inc.


Property Rights Supporter