A new eviction moratorium went into effect in Boston on August 31, 2021, sparking criticism from landlords, property owners, and real estate industry leaders. Under the recent public health order, which was issued by acting Mayor Kim Janey, landlords and owners are prohibited from serving an eviction notice on their tenants or otherwise enforcing an eviction within city limits.
The city’s post-pandemic eviction moratorium — which immediately follows the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the federal eviction ban — will remain in effect indefinitely until it is rescinded by the executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission.
As part of what she refers to as a “Housing Stability Agenda,” acting Mayor Janey also announced that she instructed the Department of Neighborhood Development to create a $5 million Foreclosure Prevention Fund. The fund — which will be created using federal pandemic relief funds — is meant to assist homeowners who have suffered hardship cover the costs of their mortgage, insurance, and condominium fees. Those who are at risk of foreclosure will be given priority.
What Does the Eviction Moratorium Mean for Landlords and Property Owners?
The citywide eviction moratorium has been met with disapproval by property owners and landlords who say it will slow the city’s economic pandemic-related recovery, amid discussions of filing a legal challenge. The moratorium has also raised concern among real estate industry leaders that the eviction ban sends a message to tenants that they are not required to pay rent or work collaboratively with their landlords to reach effective solutions.
The Small Property Owners Association, a group representing small landlords in Massachusetts, has also raised concerns regarding the ban, according to NBC Boston. The association asserted that the moratorium doesn’t actually solve the issue of keeping tenants in their housing. Rather than providing long-term solutions for tenants, the association stated that the moratorium unfairly burdens the rental housing providers who are still required to pay taxes and expenses concerning their properties.
But there is an important exception to the eviction ban that landlords in the city of Boston should be aware of. Critically, any health or safety violations committed by tenants are not covered by the moratorium. In other words, if a tenant is involved in activity that would impair the health or safety of other building residents or adjacent neighbors, they may be subject to eviction as a result — regardless of the moratorium currently in place.
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