Massachusetts Eviction Moratorium: Full Explanation and FAQ

On April 20, 2020 the Governor signed into law 191-H.4647, “An Act providing for a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures during the COVID-19 Emergency.” This bill took effect immediately. This article reviews the law from the point of view of a landlord and gives a roadmap for Massachusetts owners and managers.

How Long does the MA Eviction Moratorium Last?

The Massachusetts eviction moratorium started April 20, 2020 and lasts either:

  • One hundred twenty (120) days from the effective date of the act, which means it ends at midnight on August 18, 2020, OR
  • Forty-five (45) days after the Governor lifts the COVID-19 state of emergency that began on March 10, 2020,

whichever comes sooner, unless the Governor extends the moratorium. The Governor has a strange power in this case: if the Governor never cancels the state of emergency, they can make the eviction moratorium last up to 90 days longer. They can repeat this as often as they want, effectively making the eviction moratorium permanent at their sole discretion. (See Section 6, lines 117 through 123.)

Note that every affected court case will have its timers reset to the end of the moratorium. Every affected case will be paused during the moratorium.

Reopening businesses (repealing Order 13) has nothing to do with the state of emergency. As of May 26, the state of emergency remained in effect and there was no scheduled end to the eviction moratorium.

Are all Evictions Banned?

No, the MA eviction moratorium defines a “non-essential eviction,” and stops only non-essential evictions.

What’s a Non-Essential Eviction?

The following evictions are non-essential and are paused by the moratorium:

  1. Nonpayment
  2. Foreclosure
  3. No fault/no cause
  4. Any fault/cause except
    1. Criminal activity that impairs health and safety of other residents, health care workers, emergency personnel, persons lawfully on the subject property, or the general public (collectively, “others”);
    2. Lease violations that may impact the health or safety of “others”.

In other words, the only evictions that can proceed will be directly related to health and safety.

Does a “person lawfully on the subject property” include me, my team, or my contractors? Yes, landlords and their agents have permission to be on their property, provided they give notice if entering a rented premises. We are still able to evict if a renter puts our own health and safety at risk.

Can I evict for nonpayment?

No.

Can I evict for an illegal dog, drug dealing, noise, or unauthorized residents?

No, unless you prohibit animals, drugs, noise, or unauthorized residents in a written lease and you can demonstrate that this violation could have a measurable, provable impact on the health of someone else.

Does it have to be a lease? To be determined. “Tenancy at will” probably counts as well, but the law is poorly drafted and says “lease”.

What’s the deal with the Small Business Protection?

The MA eviction moratorium contains unexpected language about a “small business premises unit”. A “small business premises unit” is defined as a space rented by a for-profit or non-profit that is neither controlled by nor in control of:

  • a multi-state entity;
  • a multi-national entity;
  • a publicly traded entity; or
  • an entity with 150 or more full-time equivalent employees.

In other words, a “small business.” The law says you can continue a small business eviction that started before the COVID-19 state of emergency began.

It’s unclear what the intent of this section was. This section seems intended to help small businesses, but it permits more evictions of small business than it does of residential renters. For instance, if a small business was not paying rent prior to the pandemic, that case can still proceed.

If a Renter Wasn’t Paying Prior to the Pandemic, Can I Evict?

No, the MA eviction moratorium makes no distinction between renters who were already in arrears prior to the pandemic and those who stopped paying due to COVID-19. All non-essential evictions are paused.

Can I Send a Notice to Quit?

If you are pursuing a non-essential eviction, no, you may not:

  • Terminate any tenancy, even if invoking a clause in a written agreement;
  • Send any notice to vacate, even if worded as a friendly request.

You may not send a legal notice to quit, which has language about vacating.

If you are pursuing an essential eviction under the definition above, yes, you can send a notice. We recommend you contact an attorney first.

Can a Court Accept My Filing?

If you are pursuing a non-essential eviction, no, the courts may not:

  • Accept a writ, summons, or complaint for filing;
  • Enter a judgment or a default judgment for a plaintiff for possession of a residential dwelling unit or small business premises unit;
  • Deny a defendant’s request for a stay of execution or a continuance (delay);
  • Schedule a court event, including a summary process trial.

Or in plain English:

  • The clerk will turn you away if you try to file;
  • If the renter doesn’t show up, they don’t automatically lose;
  • A renter can ask to stay past their previous move out date, and the courts must allow this;
  • There are no trials or hearings of non-essential evictions.

If you are pursuing an essential eviction under the definition above, the courts may still decline to accept for filing, or may decline to hear, according to their standing orders. This is a different thing from the eviction moratorium, representing another layer of difficulty. Contact an attorney if you believe you have an essential eviction.

Does the law really say “summons, or complaint,” aren’t these the same document in summary process? Yes, this is poor drafting.

Does this apply to district court, housing court, and Boston municipal court? Yes, the MA eviction moratorium applies to every court with jurisdiction over housing.

My Case Was Already Started, Will It Keep Going?

If you are pursuing a non-essential eviction, no, your case deadlines are paused until the expiration of the moratorium, then your case will resume.

If you are pursuing an essential eviction, your timeline may still be delayed by Housing Court standing orders. Contact an attorney.

Can a Sheriff or Constable Conduct a Physical Move-Out?

If you are pursuing a non-essential eviction, no, physical move-outs cannot take place during the moratorium.

If you are pursuing an essential eviction, yes.

Can a Landlord Conduct a Physical Move-Out?

No, this is never allowed. Do not lock out a renter or turn off their utilities. Do not remove appliances or furniture originally included in the rental but not identified in the agreement.

Can I Charge a Late Fee? Can I Report my Renter’s Credit History?

If your renter does not provide both notice and documentation that their non-payment is due to “financial impact from COVID-19”, yes. Your renter has 30 days from the missed payment to provide such documentation. That documentation must use the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development form.

If your renter does provide such documentation, no, you may neither charge a late fee nor report negatively for credit purposes during the moratorium. (Note that the CARES Act imposes additional restrictions on credit reporting and late fees.)

Does this Mean Everyone Lives Rent-Free for the MA Eviction Moratorium?

The intent is “no”, the law clearly says renters are still obligated to pay rent and landlords are still entitled to sue to get it back.

The practical effect for many is “yes,” since judgments entered are rarely paid, and cannot under MA law be ordered paid if the owing party receives any public assistance.

Are Additional Restrictions Possible?

Yes, the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development was granted regulatory authority to impose additional rules on landlords. As of April 21, we had not heard what other regulations were being considered.

Can I use the Security Deposit to Cover Unpaid Rent?

No, you may not use the security deposit under the eviction moratorium or under existing MA law until the tenancy is over. Then you may use it to cover unpaid rent not lawfully withheld. Contact an attorney before withholding from a security deposit to make sure owed rent was not lawfully withheld.

Can I use Last Month’s Rent to Cover Unpaid Rent?

No, this is expressly disallowed.

Can I use Last Month’s Rent to Cover Unpaid Expenses?

Yes, you may cannibalize last month’s rent to pay for your mortgage, utilities, repairs, and upkeep on the rented premises. You must notify the renter in writing that you are doing so, that the last month’s rent is still considered paid in full, and that the renter is still entitled to full interest for the entirety of the tenancy, however long into the future that may last. Your notice must use the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development form. (As of April 21, not yet available.)

Note that taking this action will increase cash flow but will decrease net income; you will owe interest you have not received. You will not be able to ask for additional last month’s rent.

MassLandlords Recommendation: do not use last month’s rent as permitted by the eviction moratorium.

Do Landlords Get Foreclosure Protection?

If you are an owner occupy landlord in a building with four units or less, yes, your lender, or the person who bought your building in foreclosure, or their attorney, may not:

  • Publish notice of a foreclosure sale;
  • Sell your building;
  • Enter your premises;
  • Start foreclosure, whether via the courts or privately;
  • File a complaint related to the foreclosure.

Any buildings you do not occupy or which are five units or more are not protected from foreclosure by the MA Eviction Moratorium. If the building was your home but it is currently vacant (e.g., you are living with family) the building is not protected.

Do Landlords Get Mortgage Forbearance?

If you are an owner occupy landlord in a building with four units or less, yes, your lender must accept requests for forbearance:

  • Up to 180 days long;
  • Without additional fees or interest;
  • Without reporting you negatively for credit purposes;
  • Without a balloon payment due at the end of the moratorium.

Any payments missed as part of forbearance will be due at the end of your loan, not at the end of the moratorium, unless you agree otherwise.

To get forbearance, you must affirm a financial impact from COVID-19. You and your lender may enter into another arrangement other than what is listed above if you both agree.

Does This Mean I Don’t have to Pay my Mortgage?

No, nothing in the MA eviction moratorium means you don’t need to pay your mortgage. Payments are at best rescheduled, and for most landlords, are still due on time.

Can I Apply for Mortgage Forbearance After the Moratorium Expires?

No, you must request mortgage forbearance while the moratorium is in effect.

Can I still Get a Reverse Mortgage?

Yes, and unexpectedly the eviction moratorium expands what constitutes reverse mortgage counseling to include electronic communications.

MA Eviction Moratorium Conclusion

The Massachusetts eviction moratorium is one of several layers of legal changes affecting the way owners and managers operate through COVID-19. The Federal CARES Act restricted nonpayment notices on federally subsidized rentals and established mortgage forbearance and foreclosure protection in buildings with Fannie/Freddie backed mortgages. The Massachusetts courts have standing orders that have delayed cases. Now the Massachusetts eviction moratorium is the most restrictive and the most difficult law for landlords of the three. When in doubt about what to do, consult with an attorney.

Webinar recorded on Wed 4/22

The Eviction Moratorium Webinar recorded Wednesday April 22 from 12p to 1:15p will be processed and posted soon, along with expanded FAQ. Ticket purchase is required to view the recording.

Buy Tickets

66 Responses to Massachusetts Eviction Moratorium: Full Explanation and FAQ

  1. Jo Landers says:

    Hi Doug, do you see anything in the bill prohibiting an LL from reminding a tenant that all rents are still owed, and will be due in full at the end of the emergency, to reinforce that this isn’t carte blanche to stop paying rent?

    Or from meeting with a tenant to modify their lease or rental agreement to close an LMR or SD account and refund it back to the them (or put a percentage to partial rent and keep the rest for other bills; I’ve already offered that to one of my tenants who has a stalled UI claim, so if it’s still stalled on the 1st, she can keep her lights and phone on another month and I can pay the mortgage – there’s still enough pantries open so we aren’t talking about food yet).

  2. Frank H says:

    Based on the above reading it seems that renters who have some government subsidy have no incentive to even comply with advising a “financial impact from COVID-19” since you can’t charge any late fees.
    Does it mean you can do a credit note (not that it has much impact on most such renters)?

  3. Steve Elliott says:

    Thank You for all that you do for Landlords both large & small. Hopefully this will be a wake up call so that next time we visit the State House, more LLs will join us.

  4. kookaburra98@aol.com says:

    Thank You very much for this breakdown. I have couple of questions if you might know the answer. In reading the Moratorium, it appears that you can’t even send a letter or if you do, it can’t state anything about terminating a tenancy? If you are having trouble with a tenant paying and they refuse to speak to you and you want to write a letter to document yourself…. is there anything that you should say or not say to help your case later on? As if the documentation is not there for the Tenant to send you – until it is either 30 days or a document is written they don’t have to even produce anything to you correct?

  5. Corey says:

    This is shameful. Private landlords are now forced to provide for the masses from our own pockets. I have an apartment opening end of this month and will most likely keep it vacant to avoid someone coming in and taking advantage of this disgrace of a bill.

  6. Arthur A Kalotkin says:

    I have a drug user . But proof is not possible. Everyone in the building smells the burning of we presume crack. Has not paid the rent since Jan.. !!!!

  7. Rick Martin says:

    I will be calling an attorney to file litigation against Baker.
    This is just horrific
    State has no authority to intervene in private contracts. Maybe for subsidized housing.
    It is time to let these morons int he State House how angry we can get and vote their sorry butts out of office.
    No court would ever hold up this bill as it violates my constitutional rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
    There is no way that the State can tell me i have to pay my mortgages an suffer financial distress because a tenants cannot pay rent

  8. Frank C says:

    We have learned a great deal in a very short time. Thank you for all you do.
    Please keep up the great work.
    Somehow we must make the Governor and law makers know how terrible these rules are for LL.

  9. rjr says:

    Isn’t it time for a class action suit for landlords against Mass legislation for the lack of fairness, the inequality, contract breaking, minimal attention to any details. They have intentionally and consistently subject property owners (especially small) to undue pain and anguish. Is there a group of attorneys or politicians out there willing bring justice to this unrighteous activity. Many of these property owners are working victims who do not have the resources to fight. They have been beaten down by unfair laws that the unjust lobbies have provoked. It is way beyond fair and borders revolutionary action. I cant wait to sell out of this miserable state.

  10. Akon kamel says:

    very good read, I wish there was more Landlords listening and interested to work together so we can help the small landlords and protect same as the renters. and hopefully create laws that are friendlier for both parties and its a win-win situation.

  11. Rick Martin says:

    What we need now is a good contract law attorney. Since the State has basically intervened in a private contract between two parties, they are now legally responsible for damages. I say we file a class action suit against the Baker administration to make them pay the rents that are due landlords. Since they are illegally denying us a our legal recourse to collect monies owed on a contract, they can be help responsible. This is a breach of contract matter of which the State has no jurisdiction. If needed, we go to Federal Court where it will be overturned and these idiots will have a lot of explaining to do. I have never been so ashamed to be an American in my life. This is a blatant attack on our rights as property owners. SO, it is OK for these people not to pay their legally owed rents yet we have to suffer financially???

  12. PATRICIA B says:

    Wow….I am still surprised that this law is so clearly one-sided with absolutely no recourse for landlords.

    Where I live, a bunch of seniors live in 2-3 families, renting out the other apartment(s) to pay taxes, insurance, maintenance, and their living expenses. With the high taxes around here, I can see that this will domino into taxes not being paid. What will that do to city/town budgets?

    And what happens to the 2-6 (or more) months of loss of income? Write that off on your taxes? Can’t eat a tax deduction.

    I have written to my reps and the governor on this issue. Have gotten nothing beyond a “thanks for your interest” reply.

    Perhaps a sympathetic journalist might want to report on what’s happening on the other side.

  13. Bill says:

    This is a wake up call for all landlords, both getting involved and living below your means. We all have to finance to get in the game, but when your margins are tight and the stuff hits the fan, you get no forgiveness from anyone. You realize your only friend is the MassLandlord Assoc.

  14. john b says:

    This could be the end of the Mom and Pop landlords who only wanted to own and run a
    decent house.

    You,ll never make up the rents you lose now and no one will be evicted this year because of the court backups,and Baker can still extend the Eviction Moratorium for 90 days at a time
    This legislation was war written by and for tenant advocate groups and they got every thing they wanted and more

  15. Sandra says:

    In conclusion, Landloard are the most impacted, which is not fun specially if a renter was already paying a lower rent, I still have to pay the whole mortgage.
    I wonder what will happen if my tenant had until March 31 to move out And additionally she requested an extra month, and can do that max three times, So she should vacate on July 1st, and then we are under this memorandum?
    Thanks

  16. Adam G says:

    I think a bunch of us would like to get together to assist and help financially support a class action lawsuit. Doug, can you coordinate such? Perhaps ask for a vote of how many people would be interested before partaking??

  17. Attorney Daniel Gindes says:

    My reading is that the statute allows communications requesting payment of rent, as long as no mention of sanctions for non-payment are included. You can not threaten to terminate the tenancy or evict, or report to a credit agency, but you can ask for payment. Problems of proof will emerge, so simple short polite WRITTEN requests should be used. This only applies to this statute, not any other law(e.g. the CARES Act).

  18. Karen L says:

    Im confused. My situation is a bit different. I have a tenant who is quite polite and pays the rent but is not working out without getting into it. He is in violation of the lease. Regardless. his lease ends June 30th. My current lease says I have to give him 60 days notice which I have to.

    He makes well into the 6 figures, has a 6 figure bank account and still employed. I still dont want him.

    Can I not renew the lease and ask him to leave before May 1st under the new moratorium laws?

    Thank you.

  19. joe spenoski says:

    Did they even think about the homeowner @ all? Here,s where u find out how good of tenant,s u have!! I can c all kind,s of owner/landlord tenant problem,s. Like everytime they c each other.

  20. Vladimir Khaynovsky says:

    I absolutely agree with Rick. I suggest that MassLandlords would take a lead on legal action while all us, Mass Landlords, pinch in to finance it.

  21. Joe and Jane Property Owner says:

    How is this not an eminent domain taking without just compensation? How are tenants not being told, that if they can pay rent and they don’t that this should be considered theft?

    I am surprised we have not passed a law saying no on will be arrested for stealing, robbing etc if they are affected by covid-19.

    This is a violation of the 5th amendment: No “private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

    By giving landlords zero option to fight anything, this is a violation.

    Eminent domain is the power of the government to take private land for public use. This power is limited by the federal Constitution and by state Constitutions.

    When the government does take private property for a public purpose, it must fairly compensate the owner for the loss.

    Personally, I feel if anyone can afford not to rent a unit at this point, pull it off the market. Not that it will make much difference.

  22. Kyle Mallett says:

    I wrote to the appropriate representatives and delegates, the governor and whatnot just like many of you but this still happened. What do we do now? What’s the next step from here? This is insanity.

  23. william s says:

    If a moratorium can be enacted against an existing law pertaining to housing, then it can be enacted against ANY law! I However, I am not aware of any legal basis or statute that allows for such an action by the legislature. As far as I know, the only way to effect an action that contravenes any existing law is to modify or overturn the law legislatively; i.e., have proposed language for a new law, or for striking down an existing one in its entirety. From where does the legislative and executive authority derive? I know of no omnibus catch-all within the entire body of jurisprudence that allows this. What if there was a rash of shop-lifting, for example, and the prisons were overcrowded? Could there be moratorium on prosecuting these individuals? Clearly, this lop-sided action goes well beyond the authority of the legislature or governor, and should be challenged all the way to the US Supreme Court. Sadly, by the time it ever gets there, a huge amount of unrecoverable rent money will have been lost forever. And Trump’s Court will probably find it all “OK”. Sadly, this is probably only a sign of the unprecedented power and money-grab that has been taking place by the large corporations against the residents of main st. History shows what happens when this goes too far. Remember Marie Antoinette.

  24. william s says:

    Can a landlord who is under the eviction moratorium for non-payment of rent attach personal or other property, and then seize and sell?

  25. Sh says:

    I know this is obviously a last resort. But what if you hand your deed over to the mortgage company. My tenant has refused to pay rent even though he is receiving workman comp and has been well before this started. Says he’s protected and doesn’t have to pay rent. When I sent a notice of sale of property, because I’m done with this LL shit he called the board of health on me. Now have to deal with that and him not paying rent. He has threatened me and the judge will do nothing. Btw it’s an owner occupied duplex. So yes I have zero recourse and I’m the villain because I asked him to pay his rent. Very nice govner baker you really screwed a lot of hard working people. I hope someone does open a class action suit I will join in on that.

  26. David L says:

    For those of you who mentioned a class action lawsuit I would gladly be a part of that. This bill is a disgrace and Baker should be ashamed of himself for signing it. I cannot believe it doesn’t even exclude those who were well into the legal process before COVID-19 was ever a thing. We have one tenant whose last payment was January 8th. She now owes over $6,000 and we had the execution ready to go. It can’t even be served according to this horse shit of a bill. Now this person will stay as long as they can and by the time we get back to court they will have likely taken off….owing roughly $18,000 plus court and legal costs. Who is going to reimburse me for that? Our government should kick in for this. What a disgrace….

  27. Some one who Cares says:

    I can see that there are many people who only think of themselves during this pandemic. There are many individuals who are worst off than landlords. I am sure that you all go home every night and don’t have to worry about where your next meal is coming from, or if your electricity or gas will be shut off because you have to make a choice as to what bill to pay first. Let’s be honest most of the rental units are over priced and most of your tenets sacrifice other things to pay those high rents, in a lot of apartments which aren’t even worth it. Now is a time to show some consideration of your fellow man, even if it hurts a little. Show kindness, not anger and revenge. Walk in someone else’s shoes for a while.
    Thank you
    A compassionate on looker

  28. brian says:

    would like language that once these “tenants” get tossed out in a year there will be a way of tracking their covid tactics so all can beware of them… need to have the ability to screw their credit rating if they took you to the cleaners unjustly

  29. Karen L says:

    I am a landlord and I no longer want to rent. not until at least all of this Corona virus is done. It will be hard losing the income but my health without the stress is worth more. I dont want him to live here anymore. It is owner occupied home.

    His lease runs out in June but I am afraid to renew or month to month. Since it is not an eviction and lease is done June 30th and he makes a huge salary with active job and I have on record 6 figures in his bank account, can I give him notice or non renewal and for him to leave end of lease?

    Can someone please help me with this question? I missed the moratorium webinar and I need to give him notice by end of this month (60 days it says in the lease). I am running out of time. Again, this is not an eviction. It is end of lease.

    Thank you!

  30. James S. says:

    This is horrible. I am on social security and rented my 4 bedroom 3 bath home to relatives because of my health issues.

    I just filed 3 weeks ago a 14 day notice to evict because they owe $26,000 in back rent. They promised to pay through government help but was lying.

    They have had the house siding catch on fire, kicked and punched at least 8 holes in the walls through domestic fights and Have had police action there all the time including a home invasion caused by one minor making a drug deal.

    The police are there often for domestic abuse and I rented to 4 people and now 12-14 people are living there. So now I lose everything.

    I was selling my house to pay off the credit cards I used to pay the mortgage so I was on time when they were not paying rent.

    My only recourse is to file bankruptcy to stop the creditors from harassing me when I can’t pay them and then when my house is sold they will get my proceeds from the sale plus court cost and interest. This is making America Great Again?

    I don’t know if I should cry or give up.

  31. Eddison R says:

    After saving money for almost 3 years, I just got my first home to rent 9 months ago. I was nearly getting into my feet and saving some emergency money. This can kill 3 years of my life. I can believe they can do something like this. I want nothing to do with the real state anymore. I just want to get out of this situation. I was thinking about selling the home. : (

  32. Tenant says:

    Right, because I’m sure every single Landlord that has made a comment here about unfairness so diligently follows MA laws pertaining to tenants rights and their security deposit interests. 😉
    I would just like to remind you that we are ALL in this together. I can totally understand your frustration but for tenants who truly uphold their end of deal and pay their rent on time and take care of someone else’s property beyond expectation loses their job with no help in sight despite the many attempts for aid in this horrific situation is getting nowhere because let’s face it the system is entirely overburdened now has to make sure their family won’t be thrown out onto the street. I now have to familiarize myself with the current laws being passed to ensure our safety and to be honest make sure my landlord is being an upstanding citizen himself because trust me, we’ve had our share of dishonest LL’s before just as many of you have dealt and deal with dishonest tenants. But as I sit here and read this moratorium, I have scrolled through some pretty ignorant comments. I’m confident many of you have honest, hard working tenants trying their best to make rent on time. Tenants who understand this affects you just as much as it affects us and making rent a priority despite the economic hardship we are all currently going through in one way or another. No one is perfect in this situation, nobody here truly knows the others persons story, we all have one….covid19 has caused unmeasurable suffering for millions of people and their families so to sit there and comment about how much this pisses you off or how unfair this is try putting yourself in the tenants shoes, or the legislature’s shoes for that matter—people who are trying to make sure families aren’t homeless due to a pandemic that is completely out of our control. That’s what’s unfair. Compassion is what we need, not judgment.

    Sincerely,

    Tenants who care and are thankful to not be homeless during this global pandemic.

  33. Karen L says:

    Sh – I am so sorry this tenant is torturing you the way he is. I’m new to this community. Just paid for my subscription yesterday. I notice no replies to a lot of postings but I think everyone is scared and pissed off at Governor Baker’s law. I read your post and I just feel so terrible for you. Ive had nothing but not good tenants and I have a new one that I ony wrote a 6 month lease with. I thought thank god only two months left and I get to get rid of him! Nope. I have not had problem with rent payment but he has filled my home up with 3 houses worth of stuff no room to walk, subleased his first month, flooded my kitchen month 2 because he was dumping A LOT of food in the sink and thought the garbage disposal would take care of it and rand the dishwasher at same time. The water had no where to go but flood my kitchen through the floor to the basement and leaked on my late fathers valuable paintings stored away. Month 3 hes been harbouring his girlfriend in my home for one month and I caught her. Theres more to it but now its a matter of omg what is he going to do next. Now I cant ask him to leave. I tired of being a landlord. I am also owner occupied and the income is really not worth it. I lost my mother suddenly, alone and scared and feel my rights have been violated to an extent that I can’t ask an unwanted outsider to leave my home. I’m with you. I just wanted to let you know your not alone. Stay strong. Hopefully this 120 period does not get extended or revised with exceptions. I will say though, an attorney told me on the phone its unfortunate but she stated Massachusetts state laws for tenants override Federal law. Its insane and so unfair to mom and pops like us.

  34. Donald T Doyle says:

    I am absolutely furious over this bill and agree with many commenting it is unconstitutional. I have a 3 family non owner occupied and was completely left out of the mortgage forbearance. It is so one sided. I called Charlie Bakers office, Brendan Crightons, Attorney Generals and the local rep Patricia Haddad to simply ask them what the hell they were thinking when this bill was created, agreed upon and signed into law by our useless Governor. We all need to come together and fight this very bad one sided bill. I am scared after all these years of working hard to maintain this home, provide nice apartments, and build equity and to even think that one terrible unconstitutional rent moratorium bill could possibly take it all away is unacceptable. I am going to join this site and hopefully none of my fellow landlords lose there properties over this. My tenants all paid last month and I hope it continues not only for myself but all the hard working landlords out there. Not sure if this helps but I did call my Bank and spoke to a manager who told me if I was impacted financially they would definitely work with me if a tenant or more could not pay rent due to this virus. I also have some emergency savings and could always pull a little out of 401k. I would sue for all of the owed rent, report them to the credit bureau when it is legal to do so and consider selling after this bill. Good luck and will keep coming back to Masslandlords.net

  35. zhu says:

    Questions:

    1. The renter has 30 days from the missed payment to provide such documentation, what is the documentation proof is needed to send to landlords that would apply as agreement to not pay rent?

    2. What if there is multiple roommates and only one is effected by covid-19?

    3. What if 30 days goes by and you have not received any documentation from tenants?

  36. tonia says:

    Thank you for this update. We need to stand together as small private landlords, and protect OUR rights and property. The governor does not have a right to intrude upon private contracts. Of course, we are compassionate, can work out payment plans if needed. However, to adopt this unconstitutional rent moratorium bill could possibly take it all away is unacceptable. We need to take action against this unjust Governor and his constituents.

  37. Bob F says:

    Filing a lawsuit to have the law overturned and lobbying to modify it IMHO are the best paths to focus on. The protection it provides tenants who can pay rent but don’t, including those that weren’t paying rent prior to the outbreak, some of whom have court ordered judgements and executions against them is totally outrageous and damaging to landlords AND responsible tenants alike. I’m not too keen on a property tax strike as I feel the landlords who have the funds to pay taxes, just as the tenants who can pay their rent, should pay. Unlike a strike against an individual landlord, strikes against cities and towns wouldrequire large numbers to be effective and would polarize the different parties all the more. We’re all in this crisis together, and most of us (I hope) want to do what we can to help those in need. We just don’t want the state needlessly enabling the true deadbeats to exploit us.

  38. Marie k says:

    I would like to find a good lawyer that can take the case and sue the state for violating landlords rights.This is the government responsibility to provide for the people in need,some of them are working and profiting from the virus,some of them owed 7 months rent already and landlords still have to pay the morgage,taxes,water and sewer bills,insurance.It is a shame for the government,most of us are not billionaires.We are day to day private citizens that are working hard to provide for our family.Some of us are frontline workers that are exposing ourselves to the virus.What this state governor shan’t us to :get depressed and become suicidal.A governor can’t shift his responsibilities to a private citizen.Even if we were billionaires they cannot shift their responsibilities to a citizen.We worked hard for what we earned.Wake up and let do a petition,we have to win this battle

  39. Marie k says:

    I Rick!
    I am all in,I would like to join the group to fill a lawsuit.The label Massachusetts has ,is tenant friendly .We let it happen by never standing up for our rights

  40. AMC says:

    The bill should have allowed Landlords to evict where the Tenant cannot demonstrate financial harm due to COVID.

  41. Alex says:

    We have a tenant who decided not to pay rent because “the Governor says he does not have to because of Covid-19”. Our tenant has not lost a job or been directly affected by the virus so why can he get away with not paying his rent (April & May so far) while we still have to pay our bills? Our rights have been violated. What legal recourse do we have?

  42. nickym says:

    I just want to state for the record, as someone renting, I do ret assistance because I am out on a medical leave from work and my son is disabled, not able to swallow food and is losing weight , i have worked for years and do not try to take advantage of my landlord, but truly feel its the other way around. my place i do rent was never even so much as cleaned in the first place, my rent is paid, even if its with subsidized housing. I don’t do drugs either, as there seems to be a stereotype everybody getting assistance must be doing that. The point is, things could be worked out , not dragging me into court with a disabled son who can’t even swallow food. During this terrible pandemic, it is inhumane to put people on the street and I understand a landlords frustration as well not getting paid. I wish people could work together BEFORE court has to be involved. I mind my business and just live, and my son is trying to do the same with medical issues, so the point being, not every landlord is nice

  43. Beth G. says:

    It appears landlords have become the government stimulus for the tenants. Small landlords like myself are “small business owners”. This income is “my job” and how I feed my children and pay my bills. I’m now expected to pay all the costs, including their water/sewer use, without any income coming in. I sympathize with tenants who truly cannot pay but not convinced that’s the majority. One of my tenants is taking full advantage and nothing I can do. In the height of the surge, she wants my husband to take a look at the INTERIOR doorknobs in her apartment. Has never mentioned it before She is the only one living there (as far as I know). I wouldn’t exactly classify this as “an emergency repair”. And she owes me April and now May but has received her tax returns, her stimulus check and gets unemployment. Probably Has made more in last 2 months than when she was working.

  44. Valerie says:

    Hello, I m new to this site. I would like to be contacted if there is an effort to fight this with a class action, or some other legal remedy. Thank you.

  45. HGZ says:

    When will a trial lawyer step up with a Class Action lawsuit.
    – This eviction moratorium is a violation of the Constitution protecting property rights, the unjust taking of private property without fair compensation and without a specific public purpose.
    – A violation of the right to have grievances adjudicated by a court.
    – A violation of contract law where a tenant fails to abide by a rental agreement, whether it is paying rent or other provision of the lease..

    At a minimum, landlords should be compensated for lost rent by the government. And if “bailing out landlords” is politically untenable, then “bailout tenants” with rent payment vouchers for tenants who are able to demonstrate real financial distress directly related to the pandemic and government response to it.

  46. TJ says:

    Does this moratorium apply if the tenant has agreed to leave the property by June 30. This agreement to leave was made before the moratorium.

  47. angela says:

    Shame on landlords. I am disgusted by the comments above. I am a renter who chose to rent so I could put my three children through college. I am expected to keep three months emergency savings for situations like this. Landlords are business owners. If you can’t sustain your apartment building or leased space for three months, then YOU should not be in business. I continue to pay my rent and my landlord still is threatening me. Renters out there, be savvy, know your rights and STAND up for yourselves. Sue for harrassment if your landlord continues this illegal behaviour.

  48. Daniela says:

    I agree with Angela… I am a tenant too but to be fair I understand both sides, the pandemic ruined old way of living for EVERYBODY. But… most of the time tenant have to show proof of income that exceeds the rent 3 times, and if potential tenant cannot come up with that good luck on getting apartment (landlords are fully aware of that and very aggressive about tenants income). Also bank savings are not that good as proof of ability to pay the rent (and I am talking about large monies, thousands of dollars) because they are too “liquid”… I could never get this but whatever… I am not even mentioning the rent price and lease addendums that landlords comes up with, it is hysterical – with every letter of the lease assumes you are going to neglect the agreement and there is a need for court procedures. After signing lease I bet most renters feels that landlord gives the right to rent a beautiful castle in LA-LA land)))))))))))))) I have not seeing one yet but the price tag suggests that you rent a mansion…
    Back to Angela’s comment… if tenant have to come up with three times the rent price then landlord (she is right about the point of business owners) should have same three months as a cushion… Why I am not surprised? Because most of landlords-business owners purchasing properties thinking it is an easy cheesy peezy monies. Guess what? Tha -da!!!! And do not get me started on the fact most landlords never heard about LANDLORD-TENANT law and very surprised that tenants actually have bunch of rights too…ouch, very painful subject for some….
    And for the end piece of my note… Everybody gets a stimulus check (I really feel sorry for those making too much monies-no check for you) so I am sure number of landlords- business owners are getting the$$$$. So please please wipe your tears and put those monies for good use to cover your own expenses (and the unpaid rent if you must, work it out with mortgage companies-they are there to help you). And remember, a lot of Americans lost their businesses too FOREVER, it might make you feel better…
    See? There is always a solution for every problem… Folks, stop to exaggerate and remember every coin has two sides so do not lose the human side because karma will kick you in the butt)))))
    I know there is a sarcasm in my comment but it surely helps the depression))))

  49. Valerie Turner says:

    Can you ask for proof that a tenant has no income whatsoever, including unemployment? I want to know if this law requires tenants so show they have absolutely no income which would be very unusual. I know currently my tenants are still being paid and working remotely but some are leaving soon. Even gig workers are getting unemployment now and everyone is getting the extra $600 a week until July so most tenants should have the some income unless they were paid under the table. I am very considerate of my tenants circumstances but this law seems like it could really get abused.

  50. Rich says:

    This is absolutely a disgrace for Massachusetts. We worked hard to provide a family a beautiful home and they ended up squatting on us now over 6 months. Placing a loss so far over $20k in rent and legal fees. Baker you suck for implementing these moratoriums on us just trying to make a living. I Have a judgement and sheriff papers in hand but can’t do anything. Yet my son is coming home from Asia from serving his country and was to live in the house. Great America it is when squatters have more rights than my son who served in the marines and now has no place to live. Shame on you Baker. I’m discussed with the state of Massachusetts and for what they have caused on my family. If I was made of money I would sue the shit out of Massachusetts. Thanks state house for not one reply to all my letters for help and direction. It’s better to be scum in Massachusetts. You get food stamps, unemployment, free phones and insurance….. what’s wrong with this picture? And I’m sure they are laughing in my house sitting back saying suckers.

  51. Shane says:

    Its funny how many of yall are whining about this im gonna sue lmao you have taken advantage of people for far to long rent is ridiculously high and most of yall are slumlords anyhow take some of that money you squeeze out of minimum wage employees and pay your mortgage i like seeing LL get a taste of their own medicine

  52. JANICE S says:

    I am a new member of this group and basically joined because of the moratorium. I understand the need to protect renters but I don’t see how the state can legally make my tenants be my financial responsibility. I am semi-retired, a widow, and moved to a 3 room in-law apt so that my 2 family house could be a major asset to me in my retirement. Now that same house is a liability to me and costing me money every month. I haven’t seen anyone here mention the “Notice and Certification from Residential Tenant – Financial Hardship Related to COVID-19” form that is on the state website. I am trying to get my unpaying tenant to fill this out monthly because I was hoping having this documentation might be useful if the state does decide to fund this moratorium. Does anyone have any advice on what other kinds of back-up or proof we should be trying to get to help us be able to apply for any funds, if there are any funds available to landlords in the future?

  53. Selrah C. Oyam says:

    It’s only a matter of time before a landlord enacts their own recourse by seizing a squatter who was previously taking advantage of an act of kindness and hangs him by ripping out his veins and arteries and braiding them into ropes strong enough to pin them from ceiling corner to ceiling corner in the apartment they lived in over a year rent free. Perhaps this might send a message to Massachusetts law makers, and the country for that matter? However, it would be a shame if the slag human is never discovered… it would then become quite a mess to clean up.

  54. Greg says:

    small time LL here, been in the game 2 years this July with 2 properties. This bill is outrageous and yes, completely takes control of doing our job as a landlord out of our hands and this hits the small guys like me the hardest. While i do believe there are many situations right now where we have to be flexible, the bill is too broad with no vetting. I have tenants right now who were not working to begin with, living off SS and refuse to pay rent for the f*ck of it – simply because they can right now. I would love any opportunity to get involved in fighting this moratorium. I believe the state of Massachusetts should be responsible for the difference of lost rent and expenditures

  55. Paul says:

    Angela,
    If you are paying your rent none of this applies to you. Most of these posts assume that the landlord is the only one hurt by this law. If that were true it would be a gross violation of our civil liberties but at least Robin Hood Baker could say there was winner (like in a successful bank robbery!) But this law hurts the tenants as much as anyone except for the worst scumbags that have already ruined their lives. The moratorium encourages tenants to rip off their landlord and end up with an eviction and a judgement that will set them down a path most will never recover from. It is not just the landlord that loses. There are no winners here. None of the tenants that I have screened have stopped paying rent. Some have asked for a little more time and I was happy to give it to them. If they find they can’t pay rent they will move, as any honorable person would. I won’t need to evict them. Two of the tenants I inherited from a purchase were already under eviction. One already had the court order and had found an apartment but changed his mind for the moratorium. His judgement will be bigger but he will never pay it. So ,yes, the moratorium helped him steal. The other is a young guy that’s messed up. He would have left owing less than $2000 and we probably wouldn’t have pursued it. Maybe he would have gotten his act together but now he will have an eviction and a judgement. He works in security so it may affect his ability to get a job not to mention an apartment or a car loan. It will affect him the rest of his life. He lost more than he made the landlord lose.

  56. Claire says:

    As a small property owner I have subscribed to the small property owners newsletter for 25 years. Online or in Cambridge.
    Also from another site regarding letting tenants know their financial obligations without stepping in poo:
    During the moratorium period, the EOHED regulations recommend that landlords of residential properties send a written notice of each missed rent payment to their tenants. If a landlord sends such a notice, the notice must include the following language prominently displayed on the first page:

    “THIS IS NOT A NOTICE TO QUIT. YOU ARE NOT BEING EVICTED, AND YOU DO NOT HAVE TO LEAVE YOUR HOME. An emergency law temporarily protects tenants from eviction during the COVID-19 emergency. The purpose of this notice is to make sure you understand the amount of rent you owe to your landlord.”

    For information about resources that may help you pay your rent, you can contact your regional Housing Consumer Education Center. For a list of agencies, see https://www.masshousinginfo.org/regional-agencies. Additional information about resources for tenants is available at https://www.mhp.net/news/2020/resources-for-tenants-during-covid-19-pandemic.”

    “You will not be subject to late fees or a negative report to a credit bureau if you certify to your landlord in writing within 30 days from the missed payment that your non-payment of rent is due to a financial impact from COVID-19. The notice may also include the total balance due under the lease, the remaining term of the lease, the landlord’s contact information, and a reminder that the tenant could face eviction after the COVID-19 state of emergency ends if rent remains unpaid.

  57. Claire says:

    The form impacted tenants must fill out is Notice and Certification from Residential tenant etc and is 5 pages of intrusive information. I for one as a tenant would be pretty freaked out.
    As to being a landlord in this horrible time for all of us I want to add that my tenants are almost attached to my home, have paid late every month (yes I have a late fee clause but have not used it out of kindness because even before the virus times are hard) but otherwise have been ok by tenant standards. Now of course suddenly they claim this and that was wrong but never said so.
    Please research “the free rent trick” and weep

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