TODAY, the MA House of Representatives is convening to vote on the extension of eviction protections. Please call or email your state representative right now to weigh in. The message is simple:
“Please co-sponsor Amendment #8 to H.3872, filed by Rep. Frank Moran. This amendment is needed to close a loophole in the temporary law that prevents evictions as a result of COVID-19.”
For more context: The MA state of emergency ends today and with that end comes the expiration of key eviction protections – UNLESS the Legislature acts. The Senate passed a bill last week that included the extension of eviction protections (called “Chapter 257”), and the House is considering its bill today.
Why we need Amendment #8: The original language of Chapter 257 limited its protections to cases brought only for “non-payment of rent.” Some landlords work around this limitation by filing cases for other reasons, such as “no cause,” while still seeking to recover tens of thousands of dollars in rent. But if tenants don’t have a chance to actually obtain the rental assistance, they are evicted without any Chapter 257 protection. We need Amendment #8 to stop this from happening.
Massachusetts has millions of dollars of federal rental assistance. We need time to get that disaster relief to tenants. Right now, close to 20,000 new eviction cases have been filed statewide with over 2,000 in Western Massachusetts alone. The Governor’s announcement has thrown already traumatized people further into despair.
Without these protections, we will see a sharp increase in displacement and homelessness, and we know Black and brown people will be most impacted. This is a racial equity issue. Amendment #8 will provide closer to the protection intended by Chapter 257, and will allow us to maintain the status quo until the legislature can take up the COVID-19 Housing Equity bill (H.1434/S.891), the comprehensive solution needed to prevent more homelessness as we recover from this pandemic.
Thanks for your quick action right now! Find your representative here!