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HBRAMA Opposes 1-year Moratorium on Evictions

By July 22, 2020 No Comments

The HBRAMA has joined with the Greater Boston Real Estate Board, the Massachusetts Association of Realtors and NAIOP Massachusetts, to oppose legislation that would enact an eviction moratorium lasting twelve months from the end of the March 10 state of emergency. Such an action would cripple real estate, creating extensive short- and long-term impacts on the housing market.

HD.5166/SD.2992, An Act to guarantee housing stability during the COVID-19 emergency and recovery, are currently pending before the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Housing.

Responding to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on residential and small commercial tenants, the Legislature enacted Chapter 65 of the Acts of 2020, An Act providing for a Moratorium on Evictions and Foreclosures During the COVID-19 Emergency. That law established unprecedented protections for such tenants, suspending evictions and halting the foreclosure of most residential properties. Signed into law by Gov. Baker on April 20, the moratorium will remain in place until the earlier of August 18 or 45 days after end of the state of emergency.

In addition to extending the current eviction moratorium an additional twelve months, HD. 5166/SD. 2992 would impose rent cancellation and rent control, unfairly expose good faith property owners to Chapter 93A damages, and seal records of all renters, not just those impacted by COVID-19. These provisions and others will damage every property owner in Massachusetts, further exacerbate the state’s housing crisis, and substantially disincentivize rental housing development.

The HBRAMA also believes the legislation is also unnecessary as the the protections of Chapter 65 cited above may be extended by the governor for up to forty-five days after the state of emergency has ended, in increments of up to ninety days at a time. And on July 21, Gov. Baker announced his intention to extend the current eviction moratorium for 60 days, which will now expire on October 17 rather than August 18.

A copy of the joint statement of the HBRAMA, GBREB, MAR and NAIOP Massachusetts setting forth in detail the reasons for its opposition to this legislation can be found here.