BOSTON (AP) — Housing advocates are pressing state lawmakers in Massachusetts to take action on a bill they said would extend protections for tenants facing eviction due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The initial pause on evictions and foreclosures in Massachusetts took effect in April and was scheduled to expire August 18, but was extended until October 17.
Landlords have sued the state, calling the eviction ban unconstitutional, arguing that it restricts their free speech and their ability to acquire compensation for unlawful land taking. A federal judge has indicated he would let the ban stand.
The bill being pushed by housing advocates would ensure tenants cannot be evicted because of missed rent if the nonpayment was due to COVID-19, giving them time to get rental arrearage and other assistance in place.
It would also prevent “no fault” evictions and rent increases for 12 months following the state of emergency.
The measure would continue to guard against foreclosure and strengthen forbearance protections, allowing homeowners and landlords with up to 15 units to pause their mortgage and put missed payments on the end of the loan.
The bill would also establish an assistance fund to help landlords affected by COVID-19.