BOSTON (7 October 2020) - Boston City Councilor Lydia Edwards has issued the following statement on the ordinance filed by Mayor Martin J. Walsh which would require landlords to distribute materials to tenants on their rights prior to filing an eviction:
“I want to thank Mayor Walsh for filing this ordinance and asking that the council pass it during today’s hearing. These actions show a sense of urgency that is required of all elected officials in Massachusetts with the eviction and foreclosure moratorium set to end in 10 days. I can promise the mayor, my colleagues on the council, tenants, landlords, homeowners and housing advocates across Boston that as the chair of both the Housing and Community Development and Government Operations committees I am committed to ensuring this body will pass a comprehensive ordinance protecting renters and owners facing eviction or foreclosure. I am committed to doing so before the moratorium ends on the 17th or immediately afterward during our weekly meeting on the 21st.
The ordinance filed by the mayor is a good starting point, but it is just that: a start. We must go further than what’s being proposed today to protect Bostonians from the coming housing crisis.
The Mayor should call upon the Boston Public Health Commission to issue an emergency order establishing a moratorium on eviction enforcement during the pandemic. This would prevent the levying of an eviction order on commercial and residential tenants and protect tenants against people entering their unit except in limited circumstances. Governor Baker and Mayor Walsh have requested that residents stay home to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Evictions would make this impossible and would increase the risk to public health and safety.
Boston should also implement one of the proposals in the Housing Stability Act (H.5018/S.2918) at the statehouse and provide property tax relief for landlords that do not evict tenants for unpaid rent. This measure will provide much needed financial relief for landlords who are facing foreclosure as a result of their tenants not paying rent.
Finally, the mayor should call upon Governor Baker to do his job and lead the nation in cancelling rent and mortgage payments until the pandemic ends. Tenants, landlords, and homeowners throughout the Commonwealth are facing an unprecedented crisis on the 17th if we don’t take immediate action. I look forward to working with the administration, my colleagues and the housing advocates who have not had the opportunity to review today’s proposal on finding solutions to the challenges ahead.”
Source: Councilor Edwards' office 10/7/20
photo credit: EastBoston.com