CHAPA State Legislative Priorities 2021–2022 - Updated June 2022
Everyone in Massachusetts deserves the opportunity to live in a safe, healthy, and affordable home in the community they choose. By focusing on the production and preservation of affordable homes, equitable planning in all of our cities and towns, and prosperity of our neighbors and communities,
we can begin to undo discriminatory policies and barriers that have perpetuated segregation and hindered generational wealth-building for decades. With these legislative priorities, we can help our state recover from the impacts of COVID-19 while moving forward on long-term solutions to the affordable housing challenges we faced before the pandemic.
Updated June 2022 – pdf version.
PRODUCTION & PRESERVATION
An Act relative to housing production (H.1448/S.871)
Sponsors: Representatives Andy Vargas and Kevin Honan & Senator Brendan Crighton
This legislation will increase the production of affordable homes, remove restrictive zoning barriers, and proposes innovative solutions for land use in Massachusetts by:
- Setting a statewide affordable housing production goal
- Requiring multi-family zoning around public transportation or other suitable locations in all municipalities
- Allowing inclusionary zoning bylaws to be enacted with a simple majority vote
- Allowing accessory dwelling units (ADUs) to be built by-right in every municipality
- Examining how underutilized commercial properties can be used for housing
- Prioritizing state-owned land for affordable housing
An Act restoring the Commonwealth’s public housing (H.1417)
Sponsors: Representative Kevin Honan
Decades of underfunding has left Massachusetts at risk of losing our public housing. This legislation will help restore the state’s public housing by allowing housing authorities to leverage new and additional resources for rehabilitation and redevelopment projects. This will help ensure that public housing will remain available for some of our most vulnerable residents.
An Act codifying the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (H.1428) An Act relative to the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (S.898) Sponsors: Representative Adrian Madaro & Senator Joan Lovely
This legislation would strengthen the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP) that currently serves almost 9,000 households. These bills would codify MRVP into state statute and make program improvements including reducing the tenant payment share, increasing administrative fees, requiring inspections, and improving data collection.
An Act providing for climate change adaptation infrastructure and affordable housing investments in the Commonwealth (H.2890/S.1853)
Sponsors: Representative Nika Elugardo & Senator Jamie Eldridge
Massachusetts is facing both an affordable housing crisis and a climate change crisis, unfortunately made worse by COVID-19. This legislation would double the deeds excise tax on the sale of real property and dedicate the estimated $300 million in annual revenue towards affordable housing and climate sustainability. The deeds excise tax is not only directly linked to rising real estate prices but it’s also an affordable and equitable way to generate revenue for the state of Massachusetts.
An Act empowering cities and towns to support affordable housing with a fee on certain real estate transactions (H.1377/S.868)
Sponsors: Representative Michael Connolly & Senator Joanne Comerford
This legislation would allow cities and towns the opportunity to enact a local transfer fee on real estate transactions in order to support affordable housing.
An Act reducing CPA recording fees for affordable housing (H.2899)
Sponsors: Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante
This bill would reduce Community Preservation Act (CPA) recording fees for affordable housing in those cities and towns that have enacted the CPA.
PLANNING & PROSPERITY
An Act promoting fair housing by preventing discrimination against affordable housing (H.1373/S.867)
Sponsors: Representative Christine Barber & Senator Sonia Chang-Díaz
Massachusetts has high levels of residential segregation. Restrictive local zoning and permitting decisions have helped create and perpetuate these patterns based on race, socioeconomic status, and familial status. These bills would prohibit municipal and state discriminatory zoning bylaws, ordinances, and land use decisions.
An Act promoting housing opportunity & mobility through eviction sealing (HOMES) (H.4505)
Sponsors: Representative Michael Moran & Senator Joseph Boncore
As soon as an eviction case is filed, a tenant has an eviction record that can impact people’s ability to obtain housing, credit, and employment. These eviction records are publicly available forever, regardless of the outcome. This legislation will protect tenants from being unfairly branded with an eviction record if they don’t have a judgment against them, if they weren’t actually evicted, or if they didn’t do anything wrong. H.4505 would require the court to seal an eviction record:
- For tenants facing no-fault eviction after the conclusion of the case.
- For tenants facing a non-payment eviction within 14 days of satisfying a judgment.
- For tenants facing fault eviction after 3 years without another eviction case.
H. 4505 also makes it illegal for a tenant screening company or landlord to use or
report a sealed court record for purposes of screening a tenant.