Reasons to sign up now rather than later:
- In May, we were approached by the Steering Committee for the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA), who called some of us vultures. If they were confident their bill would pass, they wouldn't have needed to reach out/lash out. But it may yet pass! We need attorney time this month to develop countermeasures.
- We're researching a couple of items that haven't made it into the newsletter yet, some of which would undercut funding for housing partisanship. In particular, we need more journalism hours before deciding whether to file a legal complaint this summer.
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.
Anyone can contribute whether a member or not.
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:
- Fund the eviction moratorium by enacting statewide surety.
- Oppose calls for COVID-19 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).
- Require the mandatory escrow of rent to prevent the "free rent trick", while preserving tenants' rights against slumlords.
- 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.
- Free up zoning regulations to let landlords run their businesses and create safe housing.
- 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!
As of May 2020, the membership's most important, highest consensus item was to fund the eviction moratorium by enacting statewide surety.. (We will update this #1 priority as survey data changes.)
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.