On April 20, in response to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, Governor Baker signed the eviction and foreclosure moratorium bill (H.4647) – creating some of the strongest protections for tenants and homeowners in the nation. For tenants, the law temporarily halts all stages of most evictions. For homeowners, the law temporarily stops foreclosures and requires lenders to offer mortgage forbearance for those affected by COVID-19.
On April 24, the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) issued emergency regulations and forms to implement the for the recently signed eviction and foreclosure moratorium law. DHCD’s emergency regulations can be found at the link.
The materials include downloadable forms, that can be filled and shared online, for tenants to complete and send to their landlords, documenting their inability to pay rent on time due to the COVID-19 pandemic in order to avoid late fees and negative credit reporting. Similar forms are available for residential as well as small business tenants.
If tenants document that they were unable to pay rent on time due to a financial impact related to COVID-19 and submit the document within 30 days of when the rent payment was due, the landlord will be barred from making a negative credit report about the missed payment and will not be able to charge the tenant a late fee. For avoiding the late fee and negative credit reporting for non-payment of April rent, tenants have to complete and submit the form by May 1st. However, if tenants miss the May 1 deadline for the missed April payment, they should still contact their landlord.
Fillable forms are also available for landlords to notify tenants of using last month rent paid to sustain the property. Access the forms and information on foreclosure at the website.
DHCD also published a FAQ on the Eviction and Foreclosure Moratorium.
For any questions regarding the forms or get any housing assistance, tenants and homeowners can contact their local Housing Counseling Consumer Education Agencies (HCECs). A list of HCECs across Massachusetts can be found at the link.
For more help regarding situations where the landlord has locked out tenants or shut off utilities without a court order, please visit the Mass Legal Help webpage.