House Passes Legislation to Prevent Residential And Commercial Evictions and Foreclosures

On April 2, House Speaker Bob DeLeo and Rep. Joseph McGonagle, along with their colleagues in the House of Representatives, passed legislation to set a moratorium on most res­idential and commercial evictions and residential foreclosures during the COVID-19 State of Emergency and for 30 days after it ends.

The measure now goes to the Senate, and then must be signed by Gov. Charlie Baker.

“During these unprecedented times, we need to do whatever we can to keep people healthy, safe and in their homes,” said Speaker DeLeo (D – Winthrop). “This leg­islation shields tenants and home­owners from economic insecurity during and immediately after the period of the state of emergen­cy. I thank Chairs Honan and Michlewitz for their work with members and stakeholders in put­ting together this bill, which will enhance public health and provide relief during this pandemic.”

“As House co-chair of the Housing Committee, I spend much of my time examining solutions for housing problems across the Commonwealth,” said McGonagle. “A crisis like this flips all of that around and forces us to act quickly for the protection of the people. Chair Honan did a fan­tastic job with this legislation, and I’m thankful to the Speaker and Chair Michlewitz for prioritizing its’ passage.”

The legislation includes the fol­lowing provisions.

•Establishes a moratorium on most residential and com­mercial evictions within the Commonwealth for the duration of the State of Emergency and 30 days after the State of Emergency ends.

•Landlords may not charge late fees or send reports to credit rating agencies if a tenant notifies the landlord within 30 days of a late payment that the non-payment of rent is due to a financial impact related to the COVID-19 emer­gency.

•Prohibits landlords from send­ing “notice to quit” letters for the duration of the State of Emergency and 30 days after the State of Emergency is terminated.

•Establishes a moratorium on foreclosure actions for the dura­tion of the State of Emergency and 30 days after the State of Emergency ends.

•Allows for video conferencing during the State of Emergency for reverse mortgage loans. Current mandates require in-person consul­tations for these loans.

•Emergency evictions may pro­ceed during the moratorium for actions that involve allegations of criminal activity or substantial lease violations that may detrimen­tal to public health or public safety.

The bill is being considered in the Senate this week.

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