URGENT: Contact Your Rep, Senator and Renters to Oppose 193 H.4138, H.4356; Eviction Sealing, Debt Cancellation

Sent to 3rd Reading 😱
Since we recorded this video the bill has been sent to the 3rd reading. It is headed to a floor vote.


On February 12 the Joint Committee on the Judiciary made a big mistake. They looked at a bill that would seal eviction records and create a process to nullify eviction debts. And they recommended it "ought to pass." Separately, this eviction sealing bill was also added to H.4138 the "Housing bond bill."

This bill (full text) comes from a place of wanting to help renters get an apartment with an eviction record. But let's be honest: any time two parties end up in court, one or both of them are in the wrong. Either way, there's a story that is highly relevant to the next housing provider. We need to understand whether this applicant will succeed in our community. We need to see prior evictions. We need to evaluate prior histories on a case-by-case basis.

Even worse, the eviction sealing bill has been expanded to nullify prior judgments administratively, without so much as a hearing. This could wipe out the last 20 years of debts, totaling 700 million dollars of unpaid rent. It could wipe out judgments going forward, as well. This could dramatically raise rents for good renters.

This bill is bad for the 96% of renters who avoid court every year. Your landlord or property manager will be unable to screen your new neighbors well enough. You may find your new neighbors smoking in a no-smoking building, throwing parties late at night, committing violent acts or worse.

This bill is bad for good renters with housing barriers. You may have low income and poor credit and need to show your clean eviction record to qualify. A clean eviction record is the single most important factor on the MassLandlords applicant qualifier. If eviction records become unreliable, minimum required income and credit scores will increase.

This bill is very bad for the courts. You will have to hear each eviction twice with no additional funding.

This bill is bad for housing providers. You will be unable to do your job to screen tenants. We will have 700 million dollars of judgments canceled going back 20 years, and more going forward.

This bill is bad for democracy. We must have public courts. Secret courts are the stuff of dictatorship.

This bill is bad for journalists, researchers and law enforcement, all of whom would have to get court permission to access needed data.

This bill is bad for the legislature, who will have landlord-tenant law redefined in contradiction of long-established terminology. The changes we need will far further beyond reach.

And this bill has been the result of unlawful, unreported lobbying by renter advocacy organizations.

Please contact your representative and senator to oppose eviction sealing and debt cancellation. Use the Find My Legislator tool at the State House website. This bill could pass any day. But we can stop it if you act now.

Contact Your Rep, Senator and Renters Now.

Eviction sealing and debt cancellation is bad for us, our renters and democracy. Oppose H.4138 the "Housing Bond Bill" and H.4356 "HOMES" which both contain eviction sealing.

Find My Legislator

Prepare First with Detailed Talking Points
Learn how to talk to your representative and senator.

See detailed talking points.

Read Our Full Text Analysis
This bill is harmful to almost all housing stakeholders.

See full explanation.

Engage your Renters
Who's the most badly hurt by eviction sealing? The 96% of renters who follow the rules and don't get evicted.

Get a sample email for renters.

6 Responses to URGENT: Contact Your Rep, Senator and Renters to Oppose 193 H.4138, H.4356; Eviction Sealing, Debt Cancellation

  1. Roger Williams says:

    I talked to a staff member at my State Rep Orlando Ramos’ office and stated a few of the suggested talking points. I also said that I knew that he owned rental property and hoped that he did not have any bad tenant problems. The staff member said that she would tell Representative Ramos about my call.

    I also called the office of my State Senator Adam Gomez who was one of the sponsors of these terrible bills. I was only able to leave a voice mail and have not gotten a reply yet.

  2. Jane Gasek says:

    I did contact my senator and 2 state reps. Don’t know how likely tenant input will be. Don’t think the legislators voting on it understand the true ramifications of the bill.

  3. Jazmine B says:

    Thank you for providing talking points and doing all the research up front. I will contact my rep and senator.

  4. Jolanta A says:

    I contacted both -representative and senator and shared this information with many other people. Thank you for keeping us updated Doug!

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