Letter from the Executive Director for September 2021: Working Vacation
August was a busy month. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) enacted a new eviction moratorium. We continued to dig into data on rental assistance delays. We developed our services including the certification test, our new price per unit benefits calculator and our events.
The reenacted CDC moratorium protects renters who earned or expect to earn less than $99,000 ($198,000 filing jointly). Rental assistance is available for households who make up to 80% of the area median income, roughly $50,000. If you and your renter are caught in the gap where you can’t be evicted but you can’t get rental assistance, then we need you at our September 8 litigation event.
We recently have been grateful for the chance to contribute our policy expertise with various media outlets, including WBUR, the Public’s Radio and NBC. Media appearances may be needed again depending on what we find with rental assistance. We know better each week why so many households are being timed out, why it takes so long to get rental assistance and who is slipping through the cracks.
We filed testimony for two hearings: opposed to right to counsel and eviction sealing at one, and opposed to state eviction moratorium 2.0 at the second. There is a time and a place for grassroots member engagement. These hearings were not it. We will let you know when action is required.
I had the good fortune of being able to travel internationally to see family I had not seen since March 2020. I was in a plane for a total of 13 hours and in thick summer crowds for much of the trip. I wore a mask, and so did everyone else. Their whole country was as well vaccinated as Massachusetts. Despite the Delta variant spiking there as here, I came back safely and tested negative twice as expected. Masks work. Wear them and have your renters wear them during maintenance. And get vaccinated. The two combined mean we can get back to doing what we want to do.
I worked while traveling. Our MassLandlords team never stops. We had great events, especially one on community mediation. I want to call attention to this free service that could help you avoid the backed-up courts.
We are continuing with our planned dues increase. We have developed a benefits calculator that will show you, based on how many units you own or manage, how much you can save. Some of the numbers are amazing. A member with 19 units, to pick an average number, is expected to save $179.98 per year at Home Depot; best case this could climb to $4,917 depending on what you’re buying and how much.
I encourage you to become a Certified Massachusetts Landlord™. The test is getting more and more manageable as we write pre-reading articles. Thank you for supporting our mission to create better rental housing.
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