Letter from the Executive Director for May 2023: Lots of Policy Work

In April, we did a great deal of policy work for owners and managers. This work covered the new state sanitary code, new court standing orders, eviction data, rent control, deleading credits and rental assistance reform. Plus, we continue to carry out our core operations.

I hope you know that the state sanitary code has now changed in significant ways. We have covered this by video, in-person event, and article. We did contact the Department of Public Health for the new tenants’ rights sheet, which is not mentioned anywhere in our articles yet. At time of writing, the sheet still had not yet been published.

The housing court announced new standing orders to take effect this summer. These create a double-service process aimed at reducing defaults. Constables, sheriffs and DIY landlords have to take care now to serve not just the summons but also the notice of the Tier 1 event. At our event with the court on April 13, they discussed how we don’t know which policy response will be effective at reducing defaults. That’s why these standing orders are “interim.” But we will try and see. This new process will be covered in an article to come and at two more events to be announced.

Stakeholders in the real estate community met by MassLandlords invitation to discuss opposition to rent control. We’ve covered rent control extensively recently and will again soon.

Our eviction data researcher at Brown University, Arjun Shanmugam, presented at the National Fair Housing and Civil Rights conference. He has made novel application of the medical field’s “treatment effects analysis,” and now has a framework in which to ask all kinds of questions about evictions.

Governor Healey’s budget proposes doubling the deleading credit. Our bill asks for a tenfold increase to keep pace with inflation. It’s good that now everyone recognizes the need for an increase.

Last but not least, there is widespread agreement that rental assistance needs to be reformed. The Metropolitan Area Planning Council has been kind to include our feedback on rental assistance in a report recommending changes. We have also signed onto a rental assistance reform bill advocated for by the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless. Housing scarcity and instability are problems for renters and landlords alike, and increasingly, we get to contribute to proposed solutions.

Operationally, we continue to lay software groundwork in a demanding technical environment. We have newly expanded scripts for site testing, event listings and more. I will call attention to one setback beyond our control. Clickmeter, the service we paid to track ad clicks and engagement with third-party resources like mass.gov, was acquired by Rebrandly. This transition was botched and approximately 2,000 outbound links across 500 pages rotted overnight. Advertisers will be without analytics until we have a replacement service in place. Also, at time of writing, one-third of our outbound links were still dead. Please bear with us as we abandon these failed vendors.

MassLandlords’ work benefits owners, managers and service providers of rental housing across the industry. And there is so much work to do! Please join as a member, become a property rights supporter or increase your level of support.

Sincerely,

Douglas Quattrochi

Executive Director

MassLandlords, Inc.

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