On April 20, Governor Baker signed into law the strongest eviction and foreclosure moratorium in the country (H 4647). This is truly a collective and critical win to keep people safe at home.
First and foremost, a huge appreciation to our amazing Western MA legislative delegation. Their support was uniform and unwavering and we are so grateful!
A factsheet on the law will be available shortly but for now, Mass Law Reform has provided this summary of what the law provides:
For tenants: the moratorium temporarily halts all stages of eviction, specifically:
- stops landlords from sending notices of eviction and filing new eviction cases
- stops courts from scheduling non-emergency hearings, entering judgments (including agreements for judgment), and issuing executions
- stops sheriffs from levying on executions to remove tenants
- applies to most evictions with limited exceptions for true emergencies involving conditions or conduct endangering the health and safety of others
- prevents late fees and negative credit reporting for COVID-19 affected tenants
For homeowners in 1-4 family owner-occupied properties it temporarily:
- stops residential foreclosures from going forward
- requires lenders to offer a mortgage forbearance for homeowners affected by COVID-19, with payments added to the end of the loan
- prevents negative credit reporting for homeowners in forbearance
- gives landlords access to tenants’ last month’s rent to cover expenses
The moratorium also pauses evictions on small businesses and makes it easier to access reverse mortgages.
The moratorium will remain in effect for either 120 days from today or 45 days following the end of the state of emergency, whichever is sooner. This can be extended by the Governor to ensure it does not end before the state of emergency is lifted plus a reasonable time period.
A huge shout-out to the extraordinary organizing effort across the Commonwealth in general and coming from Western MA in particular. We made our voices heard, and they made a difference.
Of course we are all acutely aware that this is the first, critical step in keeping people safe, and the work will continue for additional needed protections, both now and after the moratorium has ended.
But right now, I am sharing this momentary pause with you to say: look what we can make happen together. Let’s collect this fuel from our shared strength and commitment as we face this continuing challenge in our communities, as a united community.