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Massachusetts Eviction, Foreclosure Moratorium Extended Into October


Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has extended the commonwealth’s coronavirus pandemic moratorium on evictions and foreclosures by 60 days.

The moratorium, which was signed into law April 20, will now be in effect through Oct. 17, the governor’s office announced Tuesday. It was originally set to expire Aug. 18.

“The Act’s limitations on evictions and foreclosures have allowed many tenants and homeowners impacted by COVID-19 to remain in their homes during the state of emergency. I am confident that this action, coupled with federal assistance, helped to slow the spread of COVID-19 while minimizing the impact to date on vulnerable families and on our housing market,” Baker wrote in a letter addressed to Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Karen Spilka.

“The extension I am declaring today will provide residents of the Commonwealth with continued housing security as businesses cautiously re-open, more people return to work, and we collectively move toward a ‘new normal.’”

Baker added he was aware that the extension would affect small landlords, many of whom around the country have been calling for their own bailout for months and lobbying against “anti-landlord laws.” 

“I strongly encourage tenants to continue to pay rent, and homeowners to make their mortgage payments, to the extent they are able while the moratoria remain in place,” Baker wrote.

Boston landlords anticipated the effects of the moratorium stretching beyond its initial end date even before it was signed.

"The bottom line is, if you are an owner on the commercial or residential side, you likely won't be getting rent until sometime in the third quarter or fourth quarter of 2020," Greater Boston Real Estate Board CEO Gregory Vasil told Bisnow in April. "If you end up in legal proceedings against a tenant, you very likely aren't going to be getting rent until sometime in 2021. It further damages the economy." 

Not all landlords have come out in opposition to the moratoriums. WinnCos., an affordable housing behemoth with about 6,500 units in Massachusetts, has self-imposed an extended rent-related eviction moratorium through the end of the year.

Baker highlighted a $20M fund he and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito created to help lower-income renters and homeowners continue to make payments during the pandemic and said that as the new eviction moratorium end date nears, his administration will consider allocating further funds for housing relief and confer with the commonwealth’s judicial system to help its residents avoid eviction.