2019: In this new legislative session there are several bills that would, if enacted, further damage the ability of MassLandlords members to enter and remain in the rental-property market. Two of them are particularly dangerous. Please email/call your legislators and ask them to refuse to co-sponsor these bills.
To find your legislator, visit the Find My Legislator page on the state legislature website.
Right of First Refusal
Representative Denise Provost’s bill “to preserve affordable housing through a local option tenant’s right to purchase” (HD 3740) would require owners who want to sell their property to give their tenants the right of first refusal, a right that the tenants could sell to third parties. It would require landlords to either pay off the tenants in exchange for a waiver, or risk months of waiting while the tenants decide whether to exercise the right.
Giving tenants the ability to hold up a sale would increase the cost of doing business as a landlord, and create yet another barrier to entry into the rental-property market. Rather than expanding the supply of affordable housing, a right-of-first-refusal mandate would shrink it.
The bill could effectively prevent you from selling your property to your children or into an LLC you own.
Right to Counsel
Senator Sal DiDomenico’s bill “to ensure right to counsel in eviction proceedings” (SD 625) would provide tax-payer funded lawyers to certain tenants (not landlords) in summary process proceedings. “Free” lawyers would be available to tenants receiving public assistance (e.g. Aid to Families with Dependent Children, food stamps, refugee resettlement benefits, Section 8), and those for whom the payment of court fees could deprive them of the ability to afford, among other things, shelter. In the case of an eviction for nonpayment, this could be construed to mean every tenant.
This bill is not about fairness or equal protection of the law. The goal is to stop evictions, period. In San Francisco, the campaign for right-to-counsel was led by the Democratic Socialists of America, who want the private-sector landlords to fail because market failure demands government intervention. They openly advocate for “100% social, democratically planned housing.” In other words, the percentage of housing they intend to leave in private hands is precisely zero. Supporters of this bill specifically do not want right-to-counsel for mom-and-pop landlords.
The bill was written by people ideologically opposed to the concept of private property specifically as a step to end private ownership.
If you have questions or would like to know more about the bills we are opposing and supporting, please contact our Legislative Affairs Counsel, Peter Vickery. Tel. 413-992-2915. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please email/call your legislators and ask them to refuse to co-sponsor these bills.