BOSTON — It’s been four days since the statewide eviction and foreclosure moratorium expired, and now tenants and landlords are holding their breath for what happens next.
“I actually filed for eviction back in early March," said Mitchell Matorin, a landlord. “I haven’t been paid since January and before that the tenant in question was often late and otherwise causing problems.”
Matorin will be one of the first in line to have his day in eviction court because he filed before the moratorium took effect. Exactly when that will be, however, is still uncertain.
His best estimate is that it’ll happen by mid-November.
“Kicking people out or evicting people is actually a very long, drawn out [and] expensive process," said Matorin. “And then you have to find a new tenant that comes in and brings their own problems."
Housing advocates say the state will face a tsunami of roughly 100,000 evictions now that the emergency freeze has expired. Governor Charlie Baker rolled out a $171 million eviction diversion plan with funds for housing and legal assistance, but it will take time to take effect.
“When you’re dealing with a pandemic-level demand, you need three things basically: you need more staff, you need more money, and you need a simpler process," said Stefanie Coxe, Executive Director of the Regional Housing Network of Massachusetts.
Coxe works with residents navigating the process of applying for state and federal aid. The CDC moratorium is in effect until the end of the year despite the state’s moratorium having already expired, but it’s not automatic. It includes a complicated application process.
“Under the state moratorium, you could pay nothing and still be covered," said Coxe. “Under the federal moratorium, you have to make your best effort. So if all you can afford to pay is 300 a month. You pay 300 a month.”
What tenants can expect:
- A judges' order is necessary for removal
- Landlords must give a 14 day notice
- Court hearings will be held via Zoom calls
“A lot of people have had to apply for assistance who have never had to apply for assistance,” said Anne Corbin, with the Housing and Homeless Prevention, ABCD. “And so if you’ve never gone through a process like that, it can become overwhelming."
Corbin says eviction is often only one of the issues tenants are dealing with.
“I can’t buy my medicine if I pay my rent, and of course now that children are home all day, a lot of utilities are going up," said Corbin. “Food costs are going up. It’s a strain all around.”
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