Pandemic Laws Extended
Pandemic Laws Extended
Douglas Quattrochi - Doug
Hello and welcome to this business update. We’ll be talking today about three pandemic laws that have been extended just recently, and so that’s our business update for July 28th. They’re related to evictions for non-payment.
The three laws that have been extended relate to serving notices to quit and then what happens when you get into court. So for instance, when serving a notice to quit since the start of the pandemic under Chapter 257 of the Acts of 2020, we’ve had to provide a rights sheet provided by the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, and under them is Department of Housing and Community Development. They provide that rights sheet. This is now a permanent requirement. Tenants will always have a rights sheet about applying for rental assistance, probably a good idea but make sure you do that paperwork because your notice to quit will be dismissed without it.
There are two other temporary extensions to pandemic laws that have been made recently. That rights sheets must be copied to the state, and in order to file a case in court for non-payment, you’ll have to state that you have file that with the state. There’s a website to do that with the HCD page.
Then finally, all cases are paused pending an application for rental assistance. This means if you have a non-payment eviction and the renter needs more time to get through the bureaucracy to get that rental assistance, they’ll have that time.
If you want to read the law for yourself, it’s quite difficult because Chapters 42 and 107 of the Acts of 2022 modify the Acts of 2021, which modified the Acts of 2020. It’s very hard to follow, but this is the case. These pandemic laws have been extended.
I just want to demonstrate briefly. We have what you need at MassLandlords.net. On the Forms page, you can scroll down and find under Step Five-B Eviction the notice to quit page that will take you to this, which has a big red box, which is not out of date. We might need to make the wording more clearly indicate that is not out of date, but this state law is still in effect.
You go to Mass.gov/notice-to-quit and it will take you to this page where it talks about how to download the notice and also where to submit it, and it’s going to indicate the following. It’s going to say to your renter, “This notice to quit is not an eviction. You do not need to immediately leave your unit. You’re entitled to legal processing, which you can fight the eviction. Only a court order can force you to leave your unit.”
This is in the law. Don’t delete that. Don’t copy over it. You’ve got to certify certain things like the CARES Act. If you recall, it affects your notice requirement. If you have a federally-backed mortgage, you have to give a 30-day notice to quit now despite Massachusetts laws saying 14.
These paper requirements are extended, and in the case of providing this particular rights sheets permanent, so don’t forget that because it will add significant delays to your non-payment resolution. Of course, the best thing is always to try to mediate with your renter and get rental assistance if they need it because there’s a lot of it around still, and it’s possible that everybody can stay stably housed and in business.
All right, that’s our update for today. Make sure to follow the new laws as they’ve been extended.