Letter from the Executive Director for February 2020: Rent Control Hearing, Certification Test

January was a record month for us in terms of our networking and training events. We had ten events, more than in any previous month, including a webinar, a state-wide event, a crash course, and a hearing. We also had two staff-managed events going on at the same time: Waltham was rescheduled due to the New Year’s Day holiday and took place the same night as Worcester, with six staff spread across the two locations.

The rent control hearing on January 14 was a serious disappointment. We were informed we’d be heard in the order of sign-in. We signed in 45 minutes before the hearing started, at which point the room had only 20 people already inside. None of our many volunteers were called to speak until six hours into the hearing, by which point the audience was greatly diminished, and half of our volunteers had already given up and gone home.

Some landlords and industry professionals feel certain the order of speakers was controlled to our disadvantage, either by the legislature or by renter advocates abusing a sign-in loophole. The reason given by the Joint Committee on Housing for the order of testimony is inconsistent with our observations day-of. We are working with the Joint Committee to obtain information and records that would elucidate for all what happened.

Suffice it to say, neither rent control nor right of first refusal had a fair debate in Massachusetts last month. For this reason, and for the sheer paucity of thought given to the text of the proposals, neither ought pass into law.

Regardless of what happens this session, nothing will stand in the way of our certification work, which proves us to be credible industry advocates and grows our organizational ability with each passing month. The Certified Massachusetts Landlord Level Two test of basic legal competence is running well enough that we can have volunteers take it. We started this process in the third full week of January.

We want to provide you all with a meaningful and achievable certification. We need more time for our volunteer test-takers to provide practice results, and for us to validate the statistical model behind the test. We are therefore delaying launch of Level Two into March. If you are interested in taking a practice test, email us at hello@masslandlords.net.

Please tell a friend about all the great work we’re doing. Rental real estate is a meaningful and rewarding business. Together we can make Massachusetts the best place to own and to rent.

Sincerely,
Douglas Quattrochi
Executive Director
MassLandlords, Inc.

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