Housing committee taking testimony on eviction bill

Boston Statehouse

BOSTON (SHNS) – The Legislature’s Housing Committee is launching a public feedback period on a proposal that would keep a mandatory pause on virtually all evictions and foreclosures in place for at least a year.

The committee opened a virtual hearing process to receive written testimony on two bills (H 4878 / S 2831) aimed at preventing housing insecurity during both the COVID-19 public health emergency and the recovery period.

The bills, filed by Housing Committee Co-chair Rep. Kevin Honan, Rep. Mike Connolly and Sen. Patricia Jehlen, would extend the state’s eviction and foreclosure moratorium until one year after Gov. Charlie Baker lifts the state of emergency.

The bills would also freeze rents for one year after the emergency and create a fund to support landlords with 15 or fewer units who were affected financially during the pandemic. Baker earlier this week pushed the existing moratorium from its Aug. 18 expiration until Oct. 17, but its fate after that date remains unclear.

Many landlords and real estate industry leaders oppose the legislation, arguing that the forced halt to removal procedures leaves them on the hook financially with tenants who will not pay.

The existing law does not exempt tenants or homeowners from rent or mortgage costs.

The committee will accept testimony until 12 p.m. Tuesday, which is three days before the July 31 deadline for lawmakers to complete most major bills that could draw any opposition.

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