New Massachusetts Law Continues Essential Protections for Tenants

On June 15, 2021 – the very day that tenant protections in Chapter 257 were set to end – the state legislature voted to extend them. The following day, Governor Baker signed the legislation into law. The new law, Chapter 20 of the Acts of 2021, continues the Chapter 257 requirement that courts pause non-payment eviction cases when tenants have pending applications for rental assistance. This protection, extended until April 2022, will ensure that courts do not issue eviction orders while tenants are seeking rental assistance.

The new law also continues to require that landlords give tenants a form with information about how to prevent eviction when they send the first eviction notice, called a Notice to Quit. This form lets tenants know they do not have to move out, they are entitled to a court hearing, and they can connect to rental assistance and other resources before an eviction case is filed.

As attorney Joey Michalakes of Greater Boston Legal Services recently told WGBH,

“A lot of tenants don’t know their rights. A lot of folks, even before the pandemic, get a notice to quit, get scared and move out.”

Chapter 20 of the Acts of 2021 also continues to require landlords to submit a Notice to Quit to the Department of Housing and Community Development through an online portal. This provision is extended until January 2023.

With the federal CDC eviction moratorium set to end on June 30th, tenants and housing advocates continue to fight for further protections.