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Boston Landlord Halts Rent-Related Evictions In 2020 For Over 6,000 Apartments

WinnCompanies CEO Gilbert Winn

Affordable housing giant WinnCompanies has extended its self-imposed moratorium on tenant evictions for nonpayment of rent until the end of 2020. The action applies to Winn-owned properties in Massachusetts, which total about 6,500 units.

The company isn't releasing tenants from their obligation to pay rent, it said in the announcement. Instead, residents would be required to demonstrate financial hardship caused by the pandemic, and then enter into a payment plan agreement.

Documenting financing hardship means filling out a form prepared by the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development, which includes information about a tenant household's current income, income before the pandemic and any additional expenses the household has incurred because of the health crisis, such as child care or medical costs.

"We are committed to working with each household to create a realistic payment agreement that is sustainable and achievable and that helps them identify and apply for emergency support programs for which they may be eligible," WinnCompanies CEO Gilbert Winn said in a statement.

Currently, under emergency legislation enacted by Massachusetts in April, a statewide eviction moratorium for nonpayment of rent is in effect until Aug. 18. Evictions for other reasons, such as criminal activity in an apartment unit, can proceed under the state moratorium.

Boston-based WinnCompanies, one of the largest affordable housing owners in the country, manages about 105,000 units in 23 states.

For now, the extension only applies to residents of properties the company owns in Massachusetts, Winn told Bisnow by email. 

"Nationally, WinnCompanies is developing a housing stability and eviction prevention initiative, which will govern and update our ongoing best practices in other states where we operate," Winn said. "We believe that will be an important and sustainable set of guidelines that will promote housing stability. 

"Massachusetts happens to be a national leader in rental assistance programs, which makes the implementation of this extension easier as compared to many other states across the country," he continued. "Also, different landlords have their own unique financial circumstances — so every owner’s decision on this eviction issue has to be their own, and it would be unfair to dictate to them without that full understanding."