On June 16, Governor Baker signed a law extending certain pandemic-era policies - Chapter 20 Acts of 2021. Many of the policies established during the pandemic were tied to the state of emergency and set to expire, as the state of emergency ended on June 15. The Chapter 20 Acts of 2021 extended the pandemic policies including certain eviction protections for tenants and allowing public meetings to be held virtually.
The eviction protection policies were originally established in December 2020 under the eviction prevention law that ensured housing security for for tenants impacted due to COVID-19.
The Chapter 20 Acts of 2021 extends the eviction preventions until April 1st, 2022. Specifically the Act:
- Removes the connection of Eviction protection law to the Federal CDC moratorium 10 days after it ends (moratorium is set to expire on July 31st 2020);
- Continues to require property owners to provide information on rental assistance and any relevant information on evictions with the Notice to Quit,
- Also requires property owners to include documentation of any agreements between the tenant and landlord for the tenant to repay the landlord for non-payment of rent.
- Continues to require property owners to send copies of notices to quit to Executive Office of Housing & Economic Development (EOHED);
- Requires courts to grant continuances for eviction cases for pending rental assistance applications until April 1st, 2022;
- Requires courts to continue reporting to Legislature until April 1st, 2022; and
- Continues to require Dept. of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to report on eviction diversion initiative to the Legislature until January 1st, 2023.
For policies related to virtual public meetings, the law extends allows public bodies to continue providing live “adequate, alternative means” of public access to public meetings. The law also authorizes all members of a public body to continue participating in meetings remotely
CHAPA thanks Governor Baker for signing the bill into law. CHAPA also thanks the Legislature for leading the effort on the policy extensions, specifically CHAPA thanks Senate President Spilka, House Speaker Mariano, Ways & Means Committee Chairs Sen. Rodrigues and Rep. Michlewitz and members of House and Senate for extending eviction prevention provisions from the pandemic era.