Eviction filings in Mass. return to pre-pandemic levels
Evictions are lose-lose situations, but rates are rising.
A new report from Princeton University’s Eviction Lab shows that eviction filings have returned to pre-pandemic levels as the state’s Chapter 257, the law passed during the pandemic to help prevent evictions, is set to expire on March 31.
Attorney Rich Vetstein, of the Vetstein Law Group, has handled more than 2,000 eviction cases for landlords in his career. He said the increase in evictions is largely due to the expiration of various eviction moratoriums. He said eviction is a necessary, last-resort tool for landlords who rely on rental income to pay for the properties they own.
“No landlord wants to evict anyone, believe me,” he said. “It’s always a lose- lose. Landlords have to pay legal fees which can be $3,000 to $5,000 or more. Then there’s lost rent. If they have to do a full-force move out, they have to pay upfront for that they have to pay three months of storage and movers. That’s another $5,000. The whole thing is a complete loss for them.”
Vetstein said with Boston’s booming economy and abundance of jobs, he does not expect eviction filing rates to continue to climb dramatically going forward.
Katie McCann is a community organizer with the tenant’s rights organization City Life/Vida Urbana. She’s said many low-wage-earning tenants are seeing rents rise much faster than their wages in Greater Boston and it’s likely that evictions will continue to climb.
“Even before the pandemic, we were seeing really high level, particularly no fault eviction cases and large rent increases,” she said. “We will likely continue to see those increasing levels without state-level legislation for tenant protections, specifically, banning no-fault evictions and lifting the ban on rent control.”
McCann said two bills under consideration (H2103 and S1299) by the Legislature would allow municipalities to enact rent stabilization and new tenant protections that would stem the rising tide of evictions and cited a recent poll finding strong support for rent control among Massachusetts voters.
She said efforts are also underway to extend Chapter 257, the law
protecting tenants’ rights passed during the pandemic, which expires on March 31.
“The very first thing people should know when they get an eviction notice is that they don’t have to move,” she said. “Every tenant has a lot of rights, and they should definitely contact City Life/Vida Urbana if they’re in the greater Boston area. A landlord cannot evict you, only a judge can
evict a tenant.”
Source: Boston Globe
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