Jose Torres of Worcester is one of thousands of people in Massachusetts suffering from the economic instability brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. Now, the end of the eviction moratorium is removing one of the few safety nets left.
"This COVID-19 is hurting a lot of people. It kind of ruined me. I lost my job, I'm also losing my house," said Torres.
Advocates say tenants need to be aware of their rights in the Bay State.
"We really want to make sure that we're keeping people housed," said Central Massachusetts Housing Alliance Executive Director Leah Bradley.
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Bradley says despite the eviction moratorium ending, housing assistance agencies across the state still have tools and funding to help those in danger of losing their housing.
"We can pay back rent for more than just a few months, we can pay for up to a year, and then there's also the ability to pay for rent moving forward," said Bradley.
It's important to know you have the following rights as a tenant in Massachusetts:
- You cannot be evicted with a rental assistance application pending
- You cannot be evicted without a court order
- Your landlord cannot move your belongings, change your locks or shut off your utilities
"To the extent that there's going to be mass amounts of evictions and people on the street, I've never thought that was going to happen, and I continue to not think that that will happen," said attorney Jordana Greenman.
Greenman represented a group of Massachusetts landlords that challenged the eviction moratorium, and she argues there are too many consumer protections in this state to allow for mass evictions.
"I'm glad it's over," said Greenman, "and I'm hopeful everybody will continue to be reasonable and work together, because it's never anybody's goal for there to be homelessness."