In a virtual hearing on September 10th, Judge Mark Wolf of United States District Court in Boston indicated that he is likely to find that the Massachusetts eviction moratorium passed by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Barker in April passes constitutional muster on all counts and will remain in place for now. Plaintiff landlords had sought a preliminary injunction staying the moratorium while the case is litigated.
Judge Wolf indicated that the temporary nature of the ban influenced his decision. Additionally, he noted that the dramatic reduction in COVID cases from the enactment of the legislation until now may be a consideration in whether the ban continues to be necessary and constitutionally viable.
Housing advocates in Massachusetts credit the ban with preventing thousands of evictions throughout the state. Landlords, however, are unable to collect rent from tenants who are unable to pay. In particular, smaller landlords rely on rental income to cover property operations and are particularly challenged by the law.
So long as the Massachusetts moratorium remains in place, the federal eviction moratorium announced last week by the federal Centers for Disease Control will not apply to Massachusetts households.
Judge Wolf is expected to issue a written opinion in the near future.