Under a new program being considered by Massachusetts, any landlord who takes a homeless family out of shelter would receive the following guarantee:
- $5,000 insurance for any unpaid rent;
- Equivalently large insurance in case of property damage, depending on region;
- $750 insurance for attorney’s fees in the event of an eviction;
- A 24 hour returned-call guarantee:
- Landlords could call a new state-funded landlord adviser for assistance should problems arise (e.g., noise and nuisance, unauthorized residents, property cleanliness, etc.)
This insurance program would stack with existing subsidies. For instance, HomeBASE, MRVP or Section 8 would still be used to help the tenant afford the apartment.
The intent of the insurance is to eliminate the appearance of risk for tenants who have unstable housing histories and/or minor CORI’s. (Tenants with a history of serious crime would not be eligible for the program.) Landlords would retain the final say on whether a tenant qualifies for an apartment. There would be no change to the landlord’s right to evict.
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