CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The eviction moratorium that was in place since April is set to expire Saturday.
Back on April 20th, Governor Baker enacted the moratorium to protect tenants and homeowners from being removed from their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. It was originally set to expire on August 18th but was extended to October 17th.
Governor Baker said he is not looking to extend the moratorium for a second time. Instead, the Baker-Polito Administration released a new initiative, adding $171 million in new eviction prevention resources to support tenants and landlords with financial support.
Under the governor’s plan, families facing eviction or foreclosure can access benefits through the RAFT program. With the additional funding, the maximum benefit in the program will rise from $4,000 to $10,000 per household.
Lawmakers like Cambridge state Rep. Majorie Decker took to twitter to lay out their issues with the Governor’s plan saying: “His new support is a start but not enough & leaves too many people homeless & vulnerable to COVID-19.”
However, the House and Senate leaders decided Thursday to not intervene with the expiration of the eviction moratorium after Democratic Representative Michael Connolly filed an emergency petition to extend the moratorium to the end of the year.
22News spoke with Michael Moriarty of OneHolyoke CDC. He said they have been working closely with their tenants to make sure they have the resources that they need to avoid eviction.
“A letter from a lawyer, a demand letter from a landlord, even a knock on the door from the sheriff, those are not legal ways to remove you from an apartment,” Moriarty explained. “Only after a hearing with an order by a judge can you be forced to leave home. People should not feel intimidated, people should take the time and learn their rights.”
Now a moratorium established by the CDC has become effective in Massachusetts.
Through December, the CDC moratorium will prevent evictions for non-payment and qualified tenants who submit a written declaration to their landlord.
According to mass.gov, courts will accept filings and process cases but will not issue the court order that allows a landlord to evict a tenant until after the expiration of the CDC order.
Massachusetts has Housing Education Centers in every county available for tenants and landlords seeking information and assistance to understand these new rules.
You can call 1-800-224-5124 to find the agency that serves your community. You can also call the Massachusetts non-emergency hotline at 211 for more information.