On December 31, Governor Baker signed into law changes to eviction rules and procedures that will be in effect until the end of the COVID-19 state of emergency. The changes include:
- All notices to quit for nonpayment of rent must be accompanied by a new form. The form requires attestations on the federal eviction moratorium and agreements between the property owner and resident. It also provides resources on rental assistance programs, trial court rules and procedures, and relevant state and federal laws. Finally, the form explains that a notice to quit is not an eviction.
- All notices to quit for nonpayment of rent must be sent to the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development via their portal available here
- Courts will grant continuances for residents facing eviction solely for non-payment of rent related to COVID-19 hardship if they have a pending application for rental assistance.
It must be emphasized that if one IS able to pay rent, tenants have an obligation do so – or at least as much rent as possible. The obligation to pay in full does not disappear, it accrues. Tenants must assistance for paying rent through the RAFT or ERMA programs to avoid an impossible bill and eventual eviction down the road. Information on these two programs can be found at Mass.gov payment resources for Tenants. It should also be noted that in order to qualify for protections under the federal CDC moratorium, the tenant needs to file a declaration and meet certain criteria.
From the landlord side, the burden of housing costs is falling heavily on the landlord in many cases. As a result, Mass.gov created financial options for Landlords.