In April 2020, amid rising numbers of confirmed coronavirus cases, Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts signed emergency legislation that put a hold on residential evictions and foreclosures. While the legislation provided much-needed relief for those who were struggling to pay their rent during the global pandemic, the legislation has since expired and many are wondering what’s next for the state and its many renters. Here’s an overview of what you should know about the April legislation and current rules pertaining to evictions–
April Legislation Temporarily Bans Residential Evictions in Massachusetts
When Governor Baker signed the legislation in April of 2020, he surely had no idea just how bad things would get with the pandemic, which is why the original order likely was slated to last for 120 days or 45 days from the lifting of the declaration of emergency (made in March) — whichever came first. Not only were landlords prevented from evicting residents (except for in emergency situations), but the legislation also put a stop to late fees and bad credit reporting for overdue rent, so long as tenants could provide evidence that the late rental checks were related to the pandemic.
Moratorium on Evictions Expired in October; Governor Says No Need to Renew
While things have hardly improved in Massachusetts or globally — the pandemic is still surging on — the moratorium on evictions was lifted on October 17, 2020. Fortunately, a federal moratorium issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) exists. The federal moratorium bans evictions in an effort to stop the spread of the virus, and will remain in effect until March 31, 2021. In order to secure protection from eviction, a tenant must provide their landlord with the correct documentation, which is a declaration form that can be accessed online.
The declaration form serves as sworn testimony that a person meets the CDC’s qualifications for eviction protection. These include:
- The person seeking protection from eviction has already made efforts to obtain government assistance for rent or housing;
- The person seeking protection does not expect to earn more than $99,000 in annual income, received a stimulus check under the CARES Act, or was not required to report income to the IRS in 2019;
- The person is unable to pay their rent or make a housing payment in full because of a loss of household income, being laid off, extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses, or because of a loss of compensable work hours; and
- The person is making their best efforts to pay their rent in full and on time based on their circumstances.
It should be noted that Governor Baker has stated that he does not plan to renew the moratorium on evictions in Massachusetts.
Get Help from an Experienced Tenant and Real Estate Attorney Today
If you have questions about what the current law is in Massachusetts regarding evictions, what you need to do to qualify for eviction protection under the CDC’s order, or what to do if you have been evicted or think that you will be evicted, call our experienced real estate and tenant attorney, Deborah Gold-Alexander, Attorney at Law. Deborah Gold-Alexander Attorney at Law has over 30 years’ experience and can meet with you to discuss your case at your convenience. Call now to get started.