Councilor Lederman Urges Support for Expanded Housing Protections During COVID-19 Pandemic, Recovery
At-Large Springfield City Councilor Jesse Lederman has joined elected officials and community organizations from across the state in signing onto a letter in support of HD 5166/SD 2992 “An Act to Guarantee Housing Stability During the COID-19 Emergency & Recovery,” to protect renters, homeowners, and landlords financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic both as the pandemic continues and during the recovery that will follow.
“The pandemic is not over, and when we do find ourselves on the other side of this public health crisis we will still have the economic impact to face,” said Councilor Lederman, “Renters, homeowners, and landlords will need additional protections and support to ensure that as our communities work towards recovery we do not face an even larger crisis of further housing insecurity.”
Without action, advocates estimate that as many as 20,000 eviction cases could be filed in Massachusetts once the existing eviction and foreclosure moratorium ends, which could be as soon as August 18.
According to the letter, the bill, which has been introduced in the House of Representatives and the State Senate, would:
Protects tenants who are unable to pay rent due to a direct or indirect impact of COVID-19 against eviction for non-payment (for payments missed 3/10/20 through 12 months after the end of the State of Emergency)
Stops “no-cause” evictions through 12 months after the end of the State of Emergency with the option for municipalities to extend this “just cause” protection longer
Halts rent increases through 12 months after the end of the State of Emergency
Prevents unfair damage to credit and negative court records
Extends the ban on foreclosures of most owner-occupied properties
Extends the right to mortgage deferment (with payments put on the end of the loan) through 12 months after the end of the State of Emergency
Ensures borrowers cannot be charged penalties for missed payments during the forbearance
Expands the right to a mortgage deferment to landlords who own up to 15 rental units
Establishes a COVID-19 Housing Stability and Recovery Fund to assist property owners who lost rental income or missed mortgage payments due to the pandemic
Ensures working-class homeowners and owner-occupant, non-profit, and small-scale landlords have first priority in receiving support from the Fund, and creates an oversight board with representation from communities hardest hit by the pandemic and housing crisis.