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Councilor Baker blocks immediate action on resolution for a rent, eviction and mortgage moratorium

At yesterday's Zoomed-in City Council meeting, Councilor Frank Baker (Dorchester), delayed action on a resolution calling on the city and state to freeze rents, mortgages, evictions and foreclosures during the Covid-19 state of emergency.

Councilor Ricardo Arroyo (Hyde Park, Roslindale, Mattapan) had introduced the resolution (see below for copy), noting Mayor Walsh has already asked landlords to hold off evictions of suddenly jobless tenants and that the BHA and several non-profit landlords have agreed to do that.

Under council rules, proposed actions normally get introduced then sent to a committee for at least one hearing before the council actually votes on them. But on introducing his proposal, Arroyo asked for a suspension of the rules so that the council could vote immediately.

A rules suspension requires a unanimous vote. According to notes by Councilor Michelle Wu (at large), Baker - who is himself a small landlord - objected because "the matter was too complex and out of the City’s authority, so the docket was assigned to the Committee on Housing & Community Development."

Arroyo is now trying to organize an e-mail campaign to barrage Baker with messages from people who support the idea.

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Comments

A lot of people are going to end up homeless during a global pandemic because this guy wants to continue collecting rent. He's clearly got the best interest of his constituents in mind. Disgusting.

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Voting closed 51

Were you not surprised by this? Him and his brothers want to collect all the rent they can.

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his constituents also include landlords - and if they cannot pay their mortgage due to no rent coming in, the tenants are again at risk.

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Voting closed 47

No need to worry about rent coming in if your mortgage is also frozen...unless it's not about paying the mortgage and actually about making a profit...

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Voting closed 58

What about property taxes, insurance, water, and other expenses the landlord covers? How will towns fund teachers/etc if property taxes are paused? What are banks going to do if they stop receiving mortgage payments as they already leverage that money?

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Voting closed 23

It's cool that there are so many people in these comments that are so concerned with people who have enough means to own multiple properties and don't give even a whiff of a shit about the most vulnerable segments of the population who will end up living/dying on the street. I swear this site is going to turn me into a Maoist.

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Voting closed 39

Government at all levels, private businesses and non-profits are pulling out all the stops in many ways to work this through. Plus - how in God's name do you administer this? About 80% of people will still have jobs - should they get to stop paying for everything comrade?

I was ecstatic about what the Senate did last night - in a unanimous bipartisan agreement. Hoping the House doesn't try to screw it up by trying to edit more than a bit around the edges. Save your Green New Deal pork for another time AOC.

We don't need the Mental Midget Club over there mailing it in with their progressive flags waving from the far back lines of the action, salaries and benefits fully intact (can they stop paying rent, mortgages etc. too - seriously? And people are calling Baker self serving?)

When they offer to eliminate property taxes for a quarter and take a commensurate cut in pay and benefits - maybe, just maybe, we can take them a little more seriously.

As noted below - morons AND cowards.

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Voting closed 18

It's nice that you're happy about trillions of dollars being handed out to banks and multinational corporations with no strings attached, but I don't see the connection between anything you just said and anything I just said.

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Voting closed 26

Lot of little stuff - two of the main components - Every adult gets $1200 ($2400 per couple) and $500 per child under 17 (income requirements with phaseouts - but generous to make a difference in hard hit, high cost areas like NY and CA). Businesses can BORROW money - not sure all the details, but lots targeted at small businesses and I believe still loan forgiveness if you don't lay anyone off through the recovery. And BTW - Prez, Vice Prez, Cabinet members and members of Congress can't participate if they have a controlling interest in the biz. So much for no strings.

This passed 96-0 for a reason. FTLOG!

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Anyone over $99,000 a year wouldn't get anything, which isn't that much in NYC, SF, or even here in Boston. Plus it is calculated on 2018 tax return data, which is pretty out of date in 2020. I suppose the $198,000 per household is a bit more reasonable, though, again, its still based on 2018 Data - one spouse could have easily dropped out of the workforce to have a child, people could be laid off (happening quite a bit right now), inflated salaries in 2018 due to successful exists, etc.

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Voting closed 9

$99k is not a king's ransom in NY - but pretty solid earnings for an individual (I believe if you lost your job, you get VERY generous supplemental unemployment from the feds also - and I don't think there's an income limit on that). $198k is a lot of money - even in NY. All in, they estimated that about 90% of households are income eligible - some questions about "not W2" workers that they are trying to reconcile with 1099s. Also - 2018 data only if you haven't filed your 2019 taxes yet. If you filed, it's 2019. An incentive for people that haven't filed to pick and choose what works best for them if they want to delay filing or move ahead and file.

Again - 96-0. No bill will ever be perfect, but that was an impressive piece of work by the 96 and guessing it would have been 100-0 if the other four weren't in quarantine(they need to waive that rule for emergencies like this).

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Let us also not forget that a one time payment of $1200 is basically meaningless in places where rents can easy fetch $2-6k or more a month, and again doesn't help people layed off. SF's average income is $100k a year. Cali's max unemployment payout is $450 a week, NY is $504. Even with an extra $600 a week, you are talking at most $4,412 a month or equivalent of $52,944 a year - which is nothing given the rents in those areas (or mortgage payments given the cost of buying housing).

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But I do financial planning for a living. If you are making $100k a year and can't get through this with that much help from the government - (with perhaps a few VERY rare exceptions) you are doing something seriously wrong. Even in NY and SF. The government can't fix that.

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Voting closed 8

The one thing I have always agreed on with any CTO I have worked with - none of us have or could find a decent financial advisor. There are plenty of people making 100k that are paying 50% of their income in rent and have large student loans, especially the closer they are to have entered the job force/be out of college. As a financial planner you should know that a lot of people, regardless of income, are terrible at saving and having emergency funds in this country.

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Efficient advice for the 19%

We don't serve the proverbial 1%

We also don't work with the 80% of Americans that have little or no money.

Our Target is the rest - the 19%

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In Boston there may be a person that makes 100k, that pays $4100 a month in rent. That person would be an idiot. Especially if they are supporting a family on that salary. If you want to rent a single family home or live in a downtown high rise, you aren't planning ahead.

I really hope the federal government is saving a lot of money by handing out the money to all. My life has changed, but my income hasn't. I am extremely grateful for that. I guess I understand the theory that it would slow the stimulus down and cost more, but if there was a reasonable way to keep the checks targeted toward the people that have lost income, we would all benefit.

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Seems someone is forgetting all of the owner occupied two and three families - which has been the traditional means of home/property ownership for the lower/immigrant classes in Boston.

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a resolution calling on the city and state to freeze rents, mortgages, evictions and foreclosures

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Bit more complicated than just that.

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Voting closed 14

Nobody is going to end up anything based on a resolution by the Boston City Council. It's utterly toothless.

Walsh got a voluntary halt to evictions and Housing Court is suspended. There are no consequences if you can't pay your rent right now.

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The City doesn't have authority to do any of this, and the state and federal government either can't or won't do it.

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Voting closed 39

The city absolutely has the authority to pass whatever resolutions it wants. Whether it holds up in court is a separate question, and not for you, I, or the city council to decide. This is a matter of urgent concern for many city residents, so it seems very reasonable for the city to consider taking action instead of preemptively neutering itself.

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But when (not if) it doesn't hold up in court, landlords are going to be deep in water on their mortgages, in the middle of a recession no less. Banks won't be lenient - by that point, they'll be struggling to stay afloat themselves, and will try to foreclose as much as possible. Do you really want a boarded-up Boston, like 2009?

Likewise, the city ordinance will not hold up in court for renters. The most resourced landlords (ie. large, corporate ones) will still evict as they wish, and city residents won't benefit one iota. In fact, they would be hurt with essentially false promises from the city. Also hurt are small landlords, who can't afford expensive lawyers and might be led to believe that they actually can't evict.

In light of all this, we should be talking about the ONE thing that the City actually has the authority to do: stop collecting taxes - residential, business, motor excise, etc. This will fulfill the City Council's vision of helping residents, small businesses, etc. (But of course, they are refusing to do it - where else will their $106k salaries come from?)

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rights?

Serious question....

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A resolution doesn't go to court because it is not a law and cannot be enforced. It's just a statement of opinion.

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Are you actually promoting that a city government should pass any law they choose and let someone else clean up (and pay the legal fees for) the mess they make when something unconstitutional gets overturned?

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What a bunch of morons.

I see they conveniently left off property taxes from the list, the one thing they actually have control over, but of course that would hurt them and their colleagues.

Not just morons. They are cowards

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If they stop collecting property taxes, where else can they get their $106k salaries from?

It seems clear that the City Councilors are prioritizing their own financial wellbeing over the wellbeing of residents and small businesses - which constitute a majority people that they allegedly represent.

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The real estate investors you are so desperately worried about are well taken care of in the Covid bailout.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/26/business/coronavirus-real-estate-inve...

#whoisjohngalt

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The real estate lobby in this country is amazing. Read the Times article and can't disagree - I hope the House takes that out during reconciliation (and they should). But if there's an 800 page law and that's the only thing the Times came up with - the Senate still did a pretty good job.

Who is this John Galt guy? Trust you are not talking about me because I was a strong opponent of the real estate benefits handed out in the tax reform, I think these opportunity zones are Grand Theft Treasury and for good measure, pushing the RMD age to 72 in the Secure Act was a massive gift to the rich though not real estate related (I even wrote Ayanna Pressley and asked her to talk about this and a few other things and all I got was the gift of being added to her mailing list). Unfortunately for people like us, people like that don't listen to me.

So if you want to know who John Galt is - look elsewhere.

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Voting closed 6

Please read the resolution and then read up on how city government works.

In my opinion, this resolution was irresponsible as the city cannot enact this type of legislation. If passed, many people who don’t understand the nuance of resolution vs ordinance would not pay rent and mortgages and leave themselves in a worse situation.

If you see people’s comments on social media about this you’ll see many actually believed the city has the power to enact this and have it be legally binding. It isn’t.

Don’t waste your time writing or calling city council. Call your state and federal legislators and regulators.

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Voting closed 34

Wait, slow down. The city government works?!

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Sending this to committee seems to be a level-headed decision and I applaud Frank Baker for standing up to the other councilors by making this have more discussion before voting on a resolution that has not been well thought out. This is a complicated issue for both the residents as well as the landlords. Despite what many think, just because you own a piece of property does not mean you are rich. Many owners just barely make ends meet.

I don't think the City Council has the authority to freeze mortgages so what is really being pushed here is a rent freeze only. Evictions have already been placed on hold and the courts are closed. I see no discussion about freezing real estate taxes or water & sewer payments.

Additionally, staff members from Councilor Arroyo's office have been emailing their landlord's from their city email address asking to be let out of their leases or for rent to be suspended.

There should never be a "suspension of rules" when it comes to our elected officials duties.

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Voting closed 38

Because It doesn't matter anyway and the City Council doesnt have the authority , voting no just makes him look bad, and politics today is 90 percent presentation and 10 percent results.....sadly.

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I disagree with a lot of his votes but I expect him to vote as he believes.

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Politically, you are correct. But Frank Baker is not the type to pander or hide. He thinks the new Council are full of crap, deceiving people about what the City can do, not doing their actual jobs, and ought to be exposed for it.

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You hit the nail on the head.

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Voting closed 11

Many landlords have mortgages and other expenses they are paying on their properties. They should have some reserves but they cannot afford to have a lot of tenants stop paying their rent. That would be a disaster for all parties.

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Councilor Baker blocks immediate action on resolution for a rent, eviction and mortgage moratorium

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I didn't know the Boston City Council could force banks to stop collecting on their mortgages :-D

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Nothing on insurance, property tax, water/sewer, etc that landlords also pay. Also, what are banks, especially smaller ones and credit unions, going to do when they don't get the mortgage payments and they need to service their debts? Out of state banks?

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Use their bail out money?? It's coming...

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Or maybe this time we don't repeat 2018 and we "bailout" home owners directly vs the banks.

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Thousands of college kids were evicted from dorms they paid for and those students have flooded the rental markets. The real estate housing boom in Boston will collapse soon.

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I bet it's hundreds (or less) that were told they had to leave their dorms and stayed in Boston (they were NOT evicted.) Hard to say what will happen to the real estate market. Rates are still historically low and there is still limited inventory.

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Wish I could find the data I saw on people who list properties on AirBNB have flooded the housing market in Boston. It was not looking good for the AirBNB guys.

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I'm glad the post essentially says Arroyo wants Baker barraged with emails (harassed) because Baker insisted on playing by the Council's long-established rules. While the toothless tiger kitten City Council has traditionally and comically waded into areas far beyond its authority (remember Burma, Nicaragua, etc.) in this case Arroyo is not only being silly but feeding disinformation now and panic later, once vulnerable tenants relalize a City Council resolution is inert.

The courts are essentially closed so no eviction begun now will be heard before autumn, long after life has returned to normal. Good landlords, good tenants and good banks understand life has been temporarily disrupted and will continue to work together without City Council interference. It is already very difficult to remove a problem/deadbeat tenant in MA, this resolution merely provides additional cover for those in arrears. It's unfathomable that a tenant current in his rent before the virus will be suddenly booted because of it. Another "feel good" measure that does nothing, even if approved. Thank you Councilor Baker for refusing to allow tenants to be misled.

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Voting closed 37

Banks are profit making institutions. They have a job to continue earning income and profit. Unless that are legally told to stop they can not - as a good bank - stop that process. That process includes demanding regular mortgage payments and sending to default any home owner who misses a payment.

What bank will not send ding the credit report of a mortgage debtor who misses one payment? NONE!

It's ironic when folks who sing praises to the god Capitalism then turn around and pretend that their god is happy to not fulfill its function of making profit.

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Autumn of 2021, maybe. But this isn't, as Trümp has stressed, simply going to go away like "a miracle".

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Frank has turned into a nasty fellow. Close minded, tight fisted, fully negative and with little care for the city.

I knew Frank from many years ago. He always seemed to be a little cool but okay. With power and position that coolness has turned very, very cold.

At least he could be honest and change his partisan label to what it really is: a cold, tight fisted and inevitable negative nelly.

I am sorely disappointed by Frank. He seems to have turned into a small minded, mean spirited guy who has forgotten that he represents not some abstract legal and pedantic concept of a city, but that his job is to work for the people who make that abstract concept real.

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Voting closed 17

Arroyo is pandering to people. If Baker wanted to take shots at his family he could (we all know they got skeletons publicly). Franks not that type of guy and I’m not even really crazy about him. I own a two family. I charge rent to cover a good cost of my mortgage. My tenant pays me fair market rent for Adams Corner , I still got to pay the bank or I’m going to be out on the street with my tenant . These progressives don’t know how money and businesss works. Why don’t they go after BU and Harvard for money. Thought so

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He busts his ass to make development and state agencies listen to his community. Fighting to get the neighborhood reconnected for pedestrians and cyclists to the waterfront across Morrissey Boulevard. He's great.

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*cough* *cough*

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Thank you Councilor Baker for your level-headed non-reactionary approach to all matters regarding your constituents. Your voice on the Council is very necessary in the midst of the misled ideologists you share the Chamber with.

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It was a resolution, not a law, or an ordinance, as they are called at the city level. Most resolutions are congratulatory, e.g. someone's 100th birthday, achievement, etc.

The other category is a resolution in support of a particular policy or piece of legislation, like this one. Marty Walsh and the Great Boston Real Estate Board already announced an agreement to halt evictions. Baker announced it as well. It's a bit moot, since the courts are closed.

Suspending all rent and mortgage payments is extreme. Suspending evictions due to failure to pay rent or mortgages makes sense. It should have been done during the financial crisis. If people can pay, they should. If they cannot, talk to your landlord or bank first.

Businesses are going to have a hard time with these payments as well, retail and bars/restaurants, entertainment and the arts.

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Voting closed 7

Did anyone watch the video from the City Council Meeting? Baker invoked rule 33 to send this to committee, as it is a complex issue. The City Council has no authority here. They should use the power they have to help residents on a local level and let the Mayor and Governor continue to work with mortgage companies. Arroyo was pandering, the resolution would have done nothing.

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Voting closed 19