The Baker Administration has extended the pause on evictions and foreclosures in Massachusetts for 60 days until October 17, 2020.
This is granted to the governor through the authority by Chapter 65 of the Acts of 2020, signed into law on April 20 of this year. This provides a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The moratorium was originally supposed to expire on August 18, 2020.
Tenants are still strongly encouraged to continue to pay rent, and homeowners to make their mortgage payments to the extent they are able.
A new $20 million, statewide fund called the Emergency Rental and Mortgage Assistance program which launched on July 1 will assist low-income households in making rent and mortgage payments as well as support landlords in need of rent payments to cover expenses.
This funding complements the $18 million currently available through the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition homeless prevention program, which can also be used for rent or mortgage payments.
The law suspends most residential and small business commercial evictions, as well as residential foreclosures. It does not relieve tenants or homeowners of their obligation to pay rent or make mortgage payments.
The law also prevents landlords from sending notifications to residential tenants that threaten eviction or terminating of a lease, and limits court actions on non-essential evictions.
It will relieve tenants, both residents and small commercial, from late fees and negative credit reporting as well as allows landlords to use “last month’s rent” to pay for certain expenses, though not as a replacement rent payment, and only with proper notification of the tenant.
It will also require lenders to grant a forbearance for up to 180 days if a homeowner experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 submits such a request and allows for alternative payment agreements between lenders and borrowers regarding forbearance payments.