BOSTON - FIGHTING EVICTION
In a city made up of 67 percent residential tenants, the streets of Boston have become a battleground between renters and landlords.
The average price for a one-bedroom apartment in Boston is more than $2,000 right now and it's gone up over the past five years. Tenant advocacy groups say lower-income renters are being pushed out of their homes with little cause, if landlords just want different renters or to raise the rent. These "no fault" evictions are legal in Boston. The city says if a landlord kicks you out they should have a good reason to, but there isn't a law on the books to back that up.
"We're facing mass evictions here. We see a lot of folks displaced. We see communities being pushed away," said outreach worker Ronel Remy of City Life.
CHANGING THE RULES
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh agrees with those groups. A "Just Cause" ordinance is now before the Boston City Council. It outlines the following criteria for evictions:
- Outlaws no fault evictions
- Requires landlords to notify the city when they evict a tenant
- City must reach out to tenants being evicted to inform them of their rights and connect them with local non-profits.
Small Landowners Association president Skip Schloming said the ordinance is another form of rent control.
"As soon as it becomes known that rent strikes are a possiblity of sending in that eviction notice, or that rent increase notice, you just simply won't send it in. And that's a rent freeze," said Schloming.
He and the S.L.A. spearheaded the 1994 voter referendum that successfully banned rent freezes statewide.
He said this measure will leave landlords with the financial burden of fighting evictions and stop them from raising rents to prices in line with market demands.
Supporters of "Just Cause" say landlords shouldn't be able to push people out of their homes simply in the name of profits.
"Once these folks have been displaced, where do they go? How do they live? What do they eat? We have a responsibility to think about them," said Remy.
Both sides agree new construction is needed to deal with an overall housing crisis. The ordinance is currently in committee and a date hasn't been set for a vote.
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