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Governor Baker Signs New Eviction Bill

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Anthony recently discussed the bill with Realtors on the Crush It In Real Estate FB page. Watch here as he explains his thoughts…

The highly debated and controversial bill that was aimed at pausing evictions during this pandemic was signed by Governor Baker on Monday, April 20, 2020.  

This is an extremely difficult time for everyone and now more than ever Landlords and Tenants should be taking every opportunity to help one another and work together to get through it.

Let’s take a close look at the important points of this bill. 

  1.  Prohibits landlords of residential dwelling units, for non-essential eviction actions, from terminating tenancies or sending notices to quit. The part that is particularly frustrating to landlords is that instead of agreeing to a special COVID-19 notice to quit which was proposed they agreed to just say no notices to quit were going to be permitted.  It also applies regardless of whether the arrears occured prior to the pandemic and regardless if the tenant suffered any hardship due to the pandemic.

  2. Prohibits landlords from imposing a late fee for non-payment of rent or furnishing data to a consumer reporting agency if, within 30 days, the tenant provides notice and documentation to the landlord that the non-payment was due to a financial impact form COVID-19.

  3. Allows landlords to utilize last month’s rent to pay for expenses if the landlord notifies the tenant in writing. However, landlords still must provide tenants with the same interest that would have accrued if the landlord had not utilized last month’s rent and prohibits landlords from deducting money from the last month’s rent for any non-payment of rent.

  4. This will be prohibited for 120 days or 45 days after the emergency declaration has been lifted, whichever is sooner. The Governor may postpone the expiration for a period of time, which cannot go past 45 days after the emergency declaration is lifted.

  5. The only scenario under this bill that would allow for eviction is criminal activity, restraining orders or lease violations that impact health and safety. Landlords will still have the obligation to send out warning letters if there are serious health worries for neighbors and those types of concerns should not be ignored. 

What may end up happening as a result…

Now that the bill has passed you should be aware that there will be people who didn’t pay rent April 1st and because of this bill they won’t pay May 1st either. To make matters worse there may be people that just because of this bill will refuse to pay. 

What can be done to be prepared: 

  1. The bill says that landlords can stop paying their mortgage for up to 6 months but we recommend to not stop paying your mortgage without some confirmation from your mortgage company. If you are worried you may have trouble paying you should call them. If they do agree to a forbearance make sure it’s clear how that money gets paid back. Does it truly end up on the back of the mortgage? We are happy to help you with this if you are in this situation. Please don’t be shy about asking us to assist if you need it. Get more information about your mortgage during COVID-19.   
  2. Do the best you can to financially prepare yourself in the case your tenant stops paying rent.
  3. Stay in constant communication with your tenants to try and work out alternative solutions to pay rent rather than have them stop paying altogether.
  4. In the event this does happen to you, you should obtain documentation that helps to prove their lack of payment is from financial issues due to COVID-19.

Read the full bill HERE.

Tenants

It is not recommended that you cease rental payments as originally agreed upon in your lease if you have the ability to pay please continue to do so.  In fact, if you decide to make that decision it could hurt you later on if you do appear in court after this pandemic and cannot make up the lost rent. If you are having true hardships please contact your landlord or property manager directly so you can work out some type of agreement that can help you both to get through this difficult time.