Davis v Comerford
MassLandlords has filed an amicus brief in the case of Allen H. Davis v William Comerford and Gina Comerford. At issue is whether the courts have the authority to escrow rent, and whether the cause of affordable housing will be furthered or set back.
Massachusetts General Law clearly states that judges have discretion to order rent be escrowed during trial. But recently, a number of judges have applied the standards of injunctive relief to rent escrow decisions. Ordering rent be escrowed is an injunction, they argue, and injunctions require the requestor demonstrate irreparable harm. Case law establishes that economic losses are not irreparable harm. Therefore, these judges state they can never order rent be escrowed.
What purpose does a rental business have, if not to collect rent? Can a rental business exist if rent is not collected? Isn’t it true that denying rent escrow, where practicable, would be equivalent to denying the rental business’ right to exist? And how can the court justify its own high standards for rent escrow when the legislature clearly created a path and a set of fair conditions during which rent may be escrowed?
MassLandlords argues that the legislature clearly intended for rent to be escrowed, that denying a lawful escrow motion amounts to denying the reason for a rental business to exist, and that the standards for injunctive relief must be modified to take this into account.