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. This law means that Massachusetts residents will not have to worry that they will be evicted, lose their home to foreclosure, and end up homeless if they have lost their jobs because of the unprecedented emergency.
For tenants, the law temporarily halts all stages of most evictions. This includes:
- Stopping landlords from sending notices to quit or filing new eviction cases
- Stopping courts from scheduling non-emergency hearings, entering judgments, and issuing eviction executions
- Stopping sheriffs from levying on executions to remove tenants
- Temporarily halting most eviction cases with limited exceptions for emergencies involving alleged criminal activities or conduct endangering the health and safety of others
For homeowners, the law temporarily stops foreclosures and requires lenders to offer mortgage forbearance for those affected by COVID-19. Specifically, the law:
- Stops residential foreclosures of owner-occupied 1-4 family housing
- 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
The moratorium will remain in effect for either 120 days or 45 days following the end of the state of emergency, and can be extended at the Governor's discretion to ensure it does not end before the end of the state of emergency plus a reasonable time period. The moratorium also pauses evictions on small businesses and allows reverse mortgage counseling to be done virtually or by phone. For a detailed summary of the legislation, click here.
CHAPA thanks the Governor for quickly signing the moratorium. Thanks also to the Massachusetts House and Senate for crafting legislation that creates such strong protections for renters and homeowners
Finally, thank you to all the tireless advocates and residents who spoke up and supported this legislation so that no one loses their home during the COVID emergency.
With this law in place, we now need move onto advocating for the resources that will be needed by residents to help pay their rent and mortgages once the moratorium is lifted. This means securing $50 million for RAFT as well as using federal and local resources to help with emergency housing payments.
We also need to provide owners and landlords the resources they need to maintain their properties and safely operate while costs associated with the virus increase.
CHAPA will continue to work to increase the capacity of emergency shelters, housing authorities, and regional housing agencies to respond to the public health crisis.
For more information on these priorities, click here.
We look forward to continuing to work together during these difficult times to make sure everyone in Massachusetts has access to a safe, healthy, and affordable home.