Reasons to sign up now rather than later:
- As we continue through Fall 2022, MassLandlords is hard at work on a number of issues.
- We are trying to get a seat at the table for the governor's advisory committee on lead laws.
- With the next legislative session coming up, we're writing and re-writing bills that must be filed by January. These include a civil asset forfeiture bill and a bill that would create a Climate Resilient Capital Task Force.
Joining now accelerates these goals and builds a track record that can be leveraged during emergency weeks. We will never miss a deadline because our team can count on your monthly support.
Massachusetts Housing Policy Achievements
MassLandlords volunteers and staff have been active participants in Massachusetts housing policy discussions since we launched in 2014.
- 2022 October: We learned that prior MassLandlords' testimony greatly influenced the April 2023 sanitary code. Among other things, we made clear that tile backsplashes and mechanical ventilation in bathrooms were not reasonable or necessary in every case.
- 2022 July: The Senate Bill 192 S2988 that MassLandlords filed would reform civil asset forfeiture in Massachusetts. The Senate voted yes (31 to 9); it will be back next session.
- 2022 May: Submitted an amicus brief in the Superior Court case Slavin v. Lewis, in support of the defendant’s rights as a tenant protected from trespass action, in the interest of insulating landlords from vulnerability to violations of Ch. 93A and liability for triple damages.
- 2022 April 4: Presentation to the national Fair Housing and Civil Rights Conference on our dataset of 71,000 eviction records.
- Offered unprecedented suggestions to achieve eviction-free housing.
- 2022 January: Filed testimony opposing Rent Control, Right of First Refusal and other matters before The Joint Committee on Housing Massachusetts General Court.
- 2021 December: After many friendly attempts, sued the Department of Housing and Community Development in the Superior Court for access to records on rental assistance timeouts.
- 2021 October: Petitioned the Attorney General to Amend 940 CMR 3.17 so as to delete from 3.17 (4) (k) the words “or... otherwise fail to comply with the provisions of M.G.L. c. 186, s. 15B.” By these words, 3.17 (4) (k) imposes treble damages and attorney’s fees for violations of the security-deposit law that the Legislature exempted from those remedies.
- 2020 October: Working with DHCD, created the RAFT "owner door," whereby landlords could first start to apply for rental assistance on behalf of our renters.
- 2019 September: Davis v Comerford decision mandating rent escrow under certain circumstances, including passing a multipoint judicial test.
- 2019 May: Davis v Comerford amicus brief arguing that rent escrow is not unlawful.
- 2019 April 6: Oral testimony to HUD indicating the need to shorten Section 8 lease-up times.
- 2018 October 15: Submitted testimony to HUD for Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule changes
- 2018 January 8: Oral Arguments for RPM Services v Hatcher
- Supported oral arguments before the Supreme Judicial Court on how court-sanctioned actions could not trigger automatic triple damages. Several other arguments were advanced; the triple damages argument at least prevailed.
- 2017 October 7: Sanitary Code Testimony
- Provided written testimony on a proposed rewrite of the state sanitary code.
- Pointed out 30 oversights, misconceptions, and bad ideas, some of which would put landlords especially in Franklin County out of business.
- 2017 September 21: State-wide Policy Forum
- Established grassroots foundations for future policy work.
- 2016 March: Meikle v Nurse Amicus Brief.
- Submitted brief to Supreme Judicial Court arguing that when a landlord owes $3 in security deposit interest this should not stop an eviction, especially if the renter owes $3,000 in rent.
- 2016 March: Senate Special Commission on Housing Final Report
- Major contributor to several key areas of report.
- First public endorsement of "Insurance Against Homelessness" aka Landlord Tenant Guarantee Fund.
- 2014 October 8: Small Business Candidates' Night
- Moderated by Ray Mariano, Mayor of Worcester '93 to '01
- Attended by eventual winners of Lt. Governor, Auditor, and Senate races
- 2013 November: First "Town Hall" for candidates, held in Worcester.
Polished and Professional Advocates
MassLandlords Executive Director was on WGBH Greater Boston December 7, 2016 to debate the City of Boston and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council on Just Cause Eviction Rent Control. Evaluate whether MassLandlords did a good job representing you, watch the episode.
"If the City of Boston wants to petition the legislature for something, we should petition for zoning reform, [not rent control]."-Executive Director Douglas Quattrochi on WGBH Greater Boston
We have contributed to the housing policy discussion in countless ways, including:
- Banker & Tradesman
- "Massachusetts’ Eviction Moratorium Cannot Stand", May 10, 2020
- WCVB Channel 5 News
- "Online petition calls for freeze on rent collection", March 18, 2020
- "In It Together", March 31, 2020
- "Resources To Help Pay Your Rent Or Mortgage If You've Been Affected By The Coronavirus" April 1, 2020
MassLandlords Executive Director was on WCVB March 31, 2020 to help renters and landlords communicate about COVID-19 related nonpayment issues. Watch the episode.
"We're understanding and sympathetic to this situation, there's just no backstop here."-Executive Director Douglas Quattrochi on WCVB Channel 5 "Ben has your Back"
The MassLandlords Policy Agenda
We want to be a voice of balanced reason in the Commonwealth. For too long, landlords and tenants have been at loggerheads on so many issues. MassLandlords is a centrist, pragmatic organization. Our mission is literally to "create better rental housing in Massachusetts." We hope this is a mission that everyone can get behind, left or right, Democrat or Republican.
The first hire for the MassLandlords policy team is Attorney Peter Vickery, our Legislative Affairs Counsel. Peter is both a practicing attorney and a former elected official, having won a seat to the Governor's Council in 2004. He is polished and intelligent, and has already contributed an amicus brief and two novel bills.
"Politics is the art of the possible. At MassLandlords our goal is to find what's possible, move it from possible to probable, and from probable to certain."Peter Vickery, Legislative Affairs Counsel
Our policy page goes in depth into many issues. Here is a short list of what we aim to accomplish:
- Reform zoning to allow us all to build more housing.
- Fund the eviction moratorium by pursuing equitable and fast distribution of rental assistance.
- Oppose lingering calls for Covid rent cancellation.
- Oppose the return of rent control in any form, including "Just Cause Eviction."
- Oppose eviction sealing that would help professional tenants take advantage of owners and managers.
- Oppose right to counsel unless it also applied to owners and managers.
- Oppose "tenant right of first refusal" modeled after the Washington D.C. Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA).
- Increase the lead paint credit, which inflation has eroded away to nothing, while continuing to eliminate lead as a hazard in the Commonwealth.
- Allow landlords to charge a reasonable late fee like every other industry and every other state, while helping low-income tenants avoid eviction.
- Clean up the security deposit law which causes triple damages and reverses evictions, without returning to the days when landlords could steal these deposits with impunity.
- Reform the move-and-store law, which is three times more onerous to Massachusetts landlords than the next nearest state, while ensuring that no one's valuable or sentimental possessions are damaged or lost.
- Help the homeless to find real homes while protecting landlords and reducing the Commonwealth's $200 million annual expenditure on emergency assistance.
- and so much more!
Vote with your Dollars
Hundreds of millions of dollars a year are spent on tenant advocacy. Did you know that MetroHousing Boston alone has a budget of $158 million annually? With the exception of a few times in the past, like the first lead paint laws and rent control, landlords have never raised enough to counter-balance these voices on Beacon Hill. Should we get money out of politics? Yes! But are we there today? No. Help us be the voice of even-handed reason by supporting us each month.
MassLandlords Executive Director Doug Quattrochi was on Tell Me Something I Don't Know, a nationally syndicated podcast hosted by Stephen Dubner of Freakonomics. Listen here.
"In MA we spend $3,000 to shelter one family just one month, and the average stay in shelter is close to a year. If you use government money that would otherwise go to shelter and instead offer landlords a financial guarantee to cover unpaid rent, property damage, and attorneys fees, [we can very efficiently help many more homeless people find long-term homes]."-Executive Director Douglas Quattrochi on TMSIDK
Property Rights Supporter funds are budgeted specifically for actions that contribute to lobbying for or against specific bills and, if MassLandlords deems it necessary, for or against candidates for office. We will follow all required laws, including lobbyist registration, tax accounting, and standards of behavior for gifts, meetings, and open dealing.
Specific fundraising needs:
- Hire a community organizer to manage grassroots contact with reps and senators statewide.
- Attorney time to draft and revise bills.
- Developer time to stand up to renter websites with our own initiative and referendum sites.
MassLandlords is democratically governed by members, who set priorities through our Public Policy Priorities Survey.
As a service to members, you can deduct the full amount of your contribution on your tax return as a business expense. MassLandlords will pay state and federal taxes at the statutory rates (e.g., 35%) on any donated amount that gets used for lobbying. If we don't lobby, or if we use the funds to build up our infrastructure, then we will pay no tax. It doesn't matter to your taxes. You will be able to deduct 100%. You can watch our progress on publicly available Form 990.
As of December 2016, our tax accountant was Moody-Famiglietti and Andronico. Because we have elected to pay tax at the highest rates on actual amounts lobbied, your contributions will be fully deductible on your returns.
Note that although we identify appearances on WGBH and Tell Me Something I Don't Know, neither of these organizations has endorsed MassLandlords or our policy objectives beyond permitting us the appearance.