Individual Claims Council
Intake is an online form that will take approximately 15 minutes, plus one minute for each unit.
Total claims: $166,437.34 across 16 owners holding a combined 180 units of which 25 are not paying. As of September 24.
Estimated percentage of units with active nonpayment: 14% of all rental housing.
Estimated average arrears: $6,657.49
Minimum arrears: $1,100.00
Maximum arrears: $44,615.00
Statement of Guiding Principles
During the pandemic stay-at-home order, people needed to have a home to stay in. And during the medical and economic recovery that lies ahead, the Commonwealth’s residents may need this housing for a long while yet to come. We have said from the beginning that this shared burden should be covered by the Commonwealth as a whole. No one should be evicted because of the pandemic or its aftermath. No housing provider should be asked to provide this needed public housing for free, to pay for upcoming months or years of repairs, real estate taxes, utilities, and mortgages without income.
The eviction moratorium is a Band-Aid, but stitches are required. We have developed and found funding for a Fair and Equal Housing Guarantee via Surety Bonds, but none in leadership have agreed to file it. We have asked the Governor not to extend the moratorium, but he has extended it to October and may extend it again after that. The amount of rent relief so far organized from federal, state, and municipal sources seems to be adding up to less than 10% of the funding that will be required by the time we get through this.
We now turn to the courts to make it clear, on a case-by-case basis, how much damage has been done. We are not launching an assault on the constitutionality of the moratorium. The Individual Claims Council is a network of attorneys who are now collaborating and available to help landlords make individual claims against the Commonwealth, enforce application of rental subsidies, or take other actions that may result in collectible agreements to pay or actual payment. The purpose is not to evict anyone. The purpose is to obtain the reasonable compensation to which we are now entitled as providers of public housing during a pandemic, and to eliminate our renter’s unpaid obligations. Together the Commonwealth can keep us all housed.
This initiative will run in parallel to our continued advocacy for a Fair and Equal Housing Guarantee via Surety Bonds.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Individual Claims Council?
The individual claims council is a network of attorneys available to guide housing providers to make legal and political claims for the state to pay for COVID-19 related rent arrears. The goal is to avoid court and eviction for all affected renters.
Who is on the Individual Claims Council?
MassLandlords staff are overseeing intake. A network of attorneys are overseeing cases (as of August 31, four firms were prepared for intake). The attorneys available to housing providers can be selected at the conclusion of intake or assigned by MassLandlords. The attorney list will change depending on caseload and availability. All attorneys cover all parts of the state.
Who can submit a claim?
Any housing provider with unpaid rent may submit a claim:
- Nonpayment began before COVID-19;
- Nonpayment began during COVID-19 but was not documented due to COVID-19;
- Nonpayment began during COVID-19 and was documented; and/or
- All other nonpayment.
What claim will housing providers be submitting exactly?
Housing providers will assert under the pains and penalties of perjury that one or more households owes rent. Each owner, manager, landlord, housing provider, etc. faces a particular set of circumstances that may best be resolved by trying some or all of the avenues open to them. Submitting information does not mean a housing provider will initiate a lawsuit against the Commonwealth. All actions are subject to housing provider review in consultation with the assigned attorney. The result of submitting a claim might be:
- A legal offer of settlement from the Commonwealth for reimbursement of back rent;
- A court order for the Commonwealth to reimburse the housing provider;
- A court order for a renter to complete an application for RAFT;
- A court order for the Commonwealth to accept a RAFT application submitted by a housing provider on behalf of a renter;
- A state or municipal guarantee to assume the renter’s back rent obligation; or
- Other possibilities, including political (legislative) solutions prompted by this process.
When will intake be open?
Intake will open on September 10 and will run indefinitely. Claims must be submitted on or before midnight October 16 to reserve all anticipated legal rights.
Where else can I apply?
Leave a voicemail at 774-314-1896 to ask for a paper application or for voice assistance with submitting an electronic application.
Why is MassLandlords doing this?
No one should be evicted due to COVID-19 or its aftermath. The people who have the power to prevent the tidal wave of evictions have not to date seemed sufficiently motivated to come up with lasting solutions, indeed planning at the highest levels seems to be acceptance of the current legal framework that is generating the tidal wave. The Legislature created the unfunded eviction moratorium, the executive signed it and extended it. The courts are going to get dragged along with it. Housing providers are going to quit. And renters are going to be evicted. Everyone loses, but it doesn’t have to be this way.
How long does it take to submit a claim?
It will take approximately fifteen minutes for one unit, or one minute for each additional unit.
What information should I have before starting?
Have a copy of the rental agreement so that you can easily determine tenancy start date, contract rent amount, address, and names of renters. Have a rent roll or other financial records that shows rent owed as of today. Have knowledge of the legal owner of each property, including who exactly is listed on the deed. Know whether a unit has been filed against already, has applied for RAFT, or has lease violations other than nonpayment.