In October we moved forward on our Boston litigation against rent control and our new public-facing site for the history of rent control. We also had a pleasant dinner meeting with the greater Springfield chapter, where attorney Larry Farber discussed the unpleasant Ferreira v. Charland, described in this edition. Coming up we will have elections, including important decisions on proposed bylaws changes.
As I mentioned last month, rent control opposition is unified and coordinated. We have contracted with a web development company to produce our permanent home to oppose rent control. Fundraising is going well; we have raised over $2,000 of the $5,000 required for Phase I. Please if you can, donate $200 to help us build the “history of rent control” website. Kids these days don’t know it reduced funding for schools, had a disparate impact on the basis of race, or led to hundreds of boarded up buildings across Boston and Cambridge.
I attended our appeal against the Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities on Oct. 5. The state lost 47,000 of the 151,000 applications for rental assistance. We have sued for access to public records following their increasingly curt refusal to cooperate. It’s hard to say whether the panel of three justices will remand the case (as they should) or if we will be left appealing to the SJC. Either way, Massachusetts remains for the time being an opaque state where a billion dollars can be spent without a shred of public oversight. And more distressingly, some of us get cut out of funding for secret reasons.
In contrast to renter advocacy, I find genuine warmth and appreciation for housing providers in climate and energy efficiency circles. The equity working group recommendations for the next three-year plan for Mass Save were presented to the commissioner of the Department of Energy Resources and the full Energy Efficiency Advisory Council on Oct. 10. We have been allowed to contribute as often as we have asked. Altogether this collaboration could bring substantial emissions reductions, air quality improvements and capital to environmental justice communities starting Jan. 1, 2025.
Meanwhile on the operations side of things, a small study of RentHelper payment plans achieved a significant result: It’s now known with 99.6% certainty that renters who use a payment plan will be stable on average 50% longer.
Our annual business meeting is coming up. We need nominations for the Board of Directors. Also, a series of nine bylaws changes are to be proposed for MassLandlords. These should help enshrine certain cultural aspects of how we run things, including our Certified Massachusetts Landlord™ program and also our Policy Priorities Survey. Please nominate and be prepared to vote yes.
Thank you for supporting our mission to create better rental housing. Please join as a member, become a property rights supporter or increase your level of support. We aim to hire both a full-time educator and policy advocate.