Ten Reasons Why HD.4935 Eviction Moratorium Should Not Pass As Written

1.) The courts have already stopped evictions until no sooner than April 21. This could and should be extended as the crisis unfolds.

2.) We agree with the court’s nuanced approach. This legislation is harmful where it oversteps the court’s decisions to permit cases to proceed on emergency basis (e.g., restraining orders) and unnecessary.

3.) The bill would make it a criminal offense for a lenders-turned-housing provider to “initiate a summary process action”, punishable by a fine of $5,000 or six months in jail or both. Such actions are already halted.

4.) The bill sends a signal that rent need not be paid even if we can afford to pay it, contributing to the economic collapse.

5.) The jail provision in particular is encouraging violence, harassment, and hate speech against housing providers and lenders, particularly on Facebook and Twitter. Under current and proposed MA law, it would be more legal to willfully disregard quarantine than it would be for a landlord to ask for rent owed, if this bill were to pass.

6.) There are 70,000 mom and pop housing providers in Massachusetts, the majority of whom are senior, who would be disproportionately impacted by this legislation, and likely won’t hear about this legislation in time. Rents are already going unpaid.

7.) Housing providers expect to see no relief from a.) unemployment (ineligible), b.) non-mortgage housing expense (not recognized in this bill); and c.) loans to employers (we typically only employ 1099’s like plumbers, electricians).

8.) Housing providers need rent to maintain housing and hire 1099’s, especially plumbers for no-heat calls and other emergencies, who are likewise ineligible under current relief plans.

9.) Jail could be a death sentence for a mom and pop lender or housing provider during this pandemic. We are already trying to empty or deal with both jails and homeless shelters. No one should go to jail if it can be avoided.

10.) An alternative exists: establish an emergency basic income or a guaranty of all obligations for every Commonwealth resident. The legislature could also authorize the courts to further extend delays as needed at their sole discretion for reinforcement.

16 Responses to Ten Reasons Why HD.4935 Eviction Moratorium Should Not Pass As Written

  1. Charmaine C White says:

    Too often it appears that legislators, tenant advocates and tenants overlook the fact that a significant percentage of housing in Massachusetts is provided by mom and pop operators who have little or no reserves and are depended on the monthly rent to pay the mortgage and the expenses of upkeep of the property. This legislation allows for withholding of rent irrespective of tenant’s ability to pay and provides no assistance or recourse for landlords who cannot make payment of their obligations as a result of not receiving rents when due.

  2. bill saltman says:

    Best to avoid court and work with renters
    my letter to renters:

    CORONAVIRUS AND HOW IT MAY AFFECT YOU

    At ***** Realty, we appreciate the possibility that some individuals may find themselves unemployed and unable to meet their full rent obligations.

    we want to assure all our valued residents that we will work with any of you who are affected by this crisis. For anyone in this situation, we will be willing to temporarily suspend part or all of rent payments due april 1 until a future date as yet uncertain.

    if you find yourself in this situation, your full cooperation with us is required well in advance of April 1 to avoid any legal consequences for partial or missing rent payments, you must furnish us with the following:

    . Proof of loss of income or job in the form of a letter from your employer stating date of termination, as well as a dated copy of last pay stub or check.

    . proof that you have applied for unemployment compensation in the form of a government letter.

    . your signing of a repayment plan with us .

    Also, we are considering using last month rent accounts to cover april if warranted.

    Those who qualify will not be subject to eviction. But to be eligible we need an immediate response from anyone who will be affected. We will tailor-make plans for each.

  3. Jad says:

    Housing is a necessity but food is even more important. Grocery stores and gas station owners are not demonized and threatened with jail time for requiring people to pay during this time. Are we going to ask the supermarkets to give out free food because people can’t pay. There has to be a better more balanced solution than to just tell people they can’t be evicted which of course for many implies that they don’t owe rent.

  4. John DeSousa says:

    Mass. is out of there minds !!!!! Is there no help for landlords ? I already have lower rents of approx. 825 per month what more do they want. Where is my guaranty, the Banks, Tax man, water&sewer, insurance, and repairs still want their monies on TIME.

  5. Sue says:

    If there is a law passed to protect tenants from eviction while not paying their rent. The law should provide landlords with the same protection from banks from foreclosure. Landlords need rents to pay their mortgage, taxes, insurance, water/sewer and in many cases utilities such as heat and hot water for the property. Where is the protection/ relief for landlords?

  6. Jad says:

    Since supermarkets don’t give out free food people are given food stamps.

    Why don’t they just give emergency rent vouchers to everyone who qualifies. This would help the landlords and the tenants.

  7. Susan Knightly says:

    I wrote to Senator Lesser’s office and cc Masslandlords. We’ve written a two page letter to every tenant expressing our concern, asking for them to communicate how this is affecting their lives. Alerting them that we are both in a high risk group and sheltering in place as much as possible. Thanks to Masslandlords for your advocacy on behalf of Mass landlords. (Let’s come up with a more egalitarian word -Home Agents or Home Keepers?).

  8. Steve Elliott says:

    I want to thank Doug & the rest of the crew at Mass Landlords for taking the lead on this very important issue. We all need to be reaching out to every LL that we know to get them to flood their state legislators with our concerns on this foolish legislation. It’s imperative that we get our fellow LLs to realize that if this legislation is passed as it’s presently proposed, all LLs whether they own 1 unit or 1,000s of units will be negatively effected.

    Say Strong & Be Well

    Steve

  9. Charles A says:

    A lot of interesting statements here! Yes it appears the state is very bias favoring tenants, but they don’t understand who in reality has the most to give or lose. Whereas LL put forth the investments to provide housing and aid for others who cant afford to buy, and a tenant can walk away, with very little ramifications, but a LL would lose greatly, and possibly cause one to go bankrupt. Were here to provide housing aid, but if this action is allowed, its NOT being recognized. We ALSO have to pay our bills, and its NOT that simple to tell a lender, we cant pay!!! Where is our relief?? Charles

  10. Charles A says:

    A follow up!! Just to say, in this state (as well others) it is the LL that provides sustenance for the individual communities to survive, in as much taxes we pay to have the LUXURY of owning, and other related costs ! The tenant is not instrumental in this arena, and has no liability, whereas we do. Also just to mention, the term, sheltering in place, is not intended for this application. Charles

  11. Dave Healey says:

    Below is my email to Representative Day…

    Dear Mr Day,

    I am glad to see that you are not a co-sponsor of HD4935 . 

    I think we can all agree that we have some challenging times ahead, but HD4935 is not the answer. I urge you advocate for a more sensible solution.

    The bill is unbalanced, not well thought out, and appears to be a knee jerk reaction that does not also take the landlord needs into consideration. Most landlords are not wealthy and rely upon the rent received to pay their own bills such as mortgage, taxes, insurance, food, gas  etc.  Where is the relief for the landlords?

    I feel for anyone that has lost income as a result of covid-19, but shifting the burden onto hardworking landlords is not reasonable. Below are a couple of ideas for other solutions for those that have lost income and cannot pay all or part of their rent.

    1. The government could provide “emergency temporary rents vouchers” (like food stamps).  Supermarkets aren’t required to give free food because an customer has no money.
    2. Let the courts halt eviction cases on a month to month basis as they are already doing.
    Regards,David Healey

  12. Andrés Ordoñez says:

    This bill is very scary and actually disheartening. Residents not paying rent could cause a domino effect in our economy – many of you have already stated the obvious. Why is that legislators fail to see the obvious?

  13. Allison D. says:

    My suggestion is for landlords to push their legislators for insurers to cover income loss by passing Covid-19 and pandemics as eligible. Contact your elected officials, especially your state reps. They are trying this in NJ.
    Insurers cannot cover all business losses. If they provide relief to landlords with business interruption insurance we can at least make our mortgage payments and cover essential expenses.
    Has there been any discussion of real estate taxes?
    If you do not know who your elected officials are, here is a link:
    http://www.sec.state.ma.us/WhereDoIVoteMA/bal/MyElectionInfo.aspx

  14. Allison D. says:

    I was also in a call with John Barros and the Economic Development Committee last week. The restaurant industry are very vocal in asking for assistance (as well as the seafood industry) as well. Restaurants do not want to get evicted.
    The loudest voices are going to get relief. It is crucial we make are heard at this time as we do not seem to be in the relief chain in initial discussions.

  15. Ariel says:

    This bill is terrifying!! “Mortgage forgiveness” would not help me at all, as I have no loans on either building. Who wrote this legislation? I do not understand how any state legislator could propose a bill like this with no exemptions for smallholders! If this bill passes as written, I think we smallholders would end up being the ONLY constituency with NO income relief!

    And please, dear colleagues, do NOT ask our reps to foist the expense of non-paying tenants onto insurance companies! I am not incorporated in any way; I have no “business interruption insurance”. AND insurance claims I have had in the past ALWAYS result in increased premiums. Your “rating” as a client changes, and is transparent to any other company you may approach, looking for a better deal. Even when I had no responsibility or “fault” in causing the problem.

    Today, April 1, is the first time I knew the content of the bill being proposed. The points you state against it are all absolutely true in my experience.

    Have any Mass. legislators taken up our cause? That is the way legislation gets changed before being brought up for a vote. It is influence of some members on other members that make the difference.

    I will contact my state senator and state rep later today.

    THANK YOU so much for your efforts!

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