Letter from the Executive Director for November 2018

This month’s update tracks the beta test of the Directory Revamp, looks forward to our elections, and asks for your help with the upcoming legislative session.

The Directory Revamp “staff beta” was completed the week of October 15. We fixed all the important bugs found during this process. The beta test was expanded to our first six members the week of October 22. We expect to roll out the new directory to additional users, and pending confirmation of no serious shortcomings, soon replace the existing directory with the revamp. We can continue to add features and refinements in production. If you are interested in testing the new version early, email hello@masslandlords.net.

We have received nominations for both the Board of Directors and the Good Neighbor Award. Official notice of our annual elections in December went out via email in mid-October. You can read the list of nominees in this month’s edition.

The next political opportunity for MassLandlords is the start of the 2019 – 2020 legislative session. In January 2019, all the bills for the next two years are supposed to be filed. (Late filing for emergency bills is always possible.)

This next session will no doubt see many interesting bills of varying importance to rental real estate. For instance, this is the first session since a state commission decided we should adopt “Atlantic Standard Time” and, with two other New England states, end 4pm winter darkness and its associated losses. Also, as flooding risk continues to weigh on real estate valuations, we may see climate change legislation impose a tax on carbon emissions or study moving the state capital inland.

This next session will also almost certainly see a coalition of municipalities refile Just Cause Eviction. Under Boston Mayor Walsh’s form of housing partisanship, the Metro Mayor’s Coalition seems poised to give this terrible idea much greater traction. As usual, we have not been invited to weigh in.

We need technology to stay abreast of the 300+ municipalities and their home rule petitions. In particular, we are looking for an increased policy budget to scrape town and city websites for hearing notices. This costs $1,500 per month. If we had it in October, would have been notified of a key Worcester hearing one week before we actually found out, which is to say, not day-of but seven days in advance. If you are able, please become a Property Rights Supporter or increase your support level. If everyone who attends events regularly gave just $5/mo, we’d be able to afford this software.

The advantage of growing our policy machinery is of course to stop playing defense, and to proactively enact the substantive reform for which we have been asking for decades. Join us at MassLandlords.net/property. And tell a friend about the many benefits listed at MassLandlords.net/join. We’re on to great things.

Douglas Quattrochi
Executive Director
MassLandlords, Inc.