“Evictions are traumatic and preventable life events that continue to disproportionately impact Black, brown, immigrant, disabled, and other vulnerable communities,” the Massachusetts Democrat said in a statement. “With COVID-19 health emergency declarations sunsetting and evictions in the Commonwealth rising to pre-pandemic levels, failure to extend Chapter 257 would only exacerbate our growing housing crisis. We must move with urgency and use every tool available to keep families safely housed and affirm housing as the human right that it is.”
Mark Martinez, a housing attorney with the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, represents tenants in evictions. He said now is a terrible time to let such a common-sense policy expire.
“We’ve seen city councilors, the attorney general, and now Congresswoman Pressley asking to extend the Chapter 257 protections,” Martinez said. “And it’s great because that policy had such a positive impact on really vulnerable people. And it’s a time when evictions are increasing, and they’re expected to be higher than they were prior to the pandemic.”
Doug Quattrochi, executive director of MassLandlords and a landlord, himself, said his organization’s position on Chapter 257 is nuanced, but if pressed, he said the program is deeply flawed and he’d rather see it expire and be replaced with something better.
“Chapter 257 is not working properly because the courts and the landlords have no visibility into the rental assistance process. The state loses applications,” Quattrochi said. “All we would want to do is close a couple of big loopholes like the state not replying to rental assistance applications.
“In fact, if renter advocates sat down at a table with us, we could come up with a much better solution. We don’t want to lose our customers.”
He said anytime a landlord files for an eviction for nonpayment, that’s a failure of the safety net.
Get the latest news on buying, selling, renting, home design, and more.