By Bob Katzen

The House approved and sent to the Senate legislation putting a moratorium on most residential and commercial evictions and foreclosures until 30 days after Gov. Baker lifts the ongoing state of emergency. The bill allows for “emergency for cause evictions” that involves allegations of criminal activity or lease violations that are “detrimental to the health or safety of other residents, health care workers, emergency personnel or the general public.”

Another provision prohibits landlords from charging late fees or sending reports to credit rating agencies as long as a tenant provides notice within 30 days of a late payment that their failure to pay was tied to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The bill passed by the House of Representatives is not just a housing safety bill, but a collective safety bill,” said Rep. Kevin Honan, the House chair of the Committee on Housing. “As residents across the commonwealth are urged to shelter in place and practice social distancing, housing stability has never been more important. Not only does a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures protect tenants across Massachusetts, but it protects us all as we work together to flatten the curve and stop the spread of COVID-19. No one should have to worry about losing their home during a public health crisis.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been taking an incredible toll on individuals and families across the state,” said House Republican Minority Leader Brad Jones (R-North Reading). “With the growing number of Massachusetts residents who have either lost their jobs or tested positive for the virus, it is imperative that we take steps to alleviate some of the challenges people are facing. The temporary moratorium on evictions and foreclosures included in House Bill 4615 will provide welcome financial relief and peace of mind to both renters and homeowners.”

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