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Janey bans evictions in Boston

Acting Mayor Kim Janey announced today that while the Supreme Court might think evictions are now hunky dory in the face of coronavirus, Boston doesn't - the city Public Health Commission today issued a new public-health order that creates a citywide moratorium on evictions, effective immediately: Property owners will be barred from bringing foreclosure actions against tenants.

Janey added that the city Department of Neighborhood Development next week will detail a new $5-million "foreclosure prevention fund" to help homeowners continue to make mortgage, insurance and condo-fee payments if they are having trouble paying them due to Covid-19-related job issues. The money will come from federal Covid-19 payments to the city.

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Seems a little too much power for an acting mayor. Does city charter allow this?
Tick tock as her time runs out on the 5th floor. Should have finished Smith and learned something….
Certainly lacks experience to by elected mayor of Boston.

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In this case Janey's on solid ground. Pretty much anything COVID-related is fair game for an Acting Mayor since falls under 'matters not admitting of delay'.

Even so, the eviction moratorium is a time bomb that gets worse the longer it's in place. At some point deadbeat renters who haven't been paying a dime towards rent are going to get sued for 18 months back rent. Janey can afford to have that bomb to go off before the November election.

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Just claiming "Covid!" doesn't give the mayor (acting or otherwise) unlimited power to do anything she wants. Evictions come under the purview of state law and she does not have the authority to deny landlords their rights to due process under state law. The Boston Municipal Court, despite its name, is an organ of the state; she cannot order the court to not hear evictions.

It's not that different from the city being forced to observe a 30 mph speed limit for most city streets until the legislature gave cities and towns the authority to reduce that to 25 mph.

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Didnt they amend some rules to effectively allow them to recall the "acting" mayor?

This can kinda be "overturned" anytime...


*This post should not be construed as taking a stand on the evictions ban one way or another*

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I think lost in her sort sidedness is the fact many landlords are working class people who need the rents to make the payments (I saw the last part about the foreclosure prevention fund but come on). We are 18 or so months into this thing and eventually the new normal has include paying your bills and working.

There are help wanted signs everywhere. Get a job and pay your rent. End of story.

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All investments are risky but landlords aren’t usually at risk of becoming homeless. Landlords who fail need to get another job.

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No seller of any goods or services should be legally compelled to continue to give those goods or services to those who are not paying for them. If we as a society choose to not let people go hungry or homeless, which I believe wholeheartedly that we should do, then the solution is not to order the grocery store to give away food or order the landlord to give away housing; the solution is for us to step up and pay for food and housing for those who cannot afford it.

I think it is grossly unfair to stick the burden of providing housing for the person who has lost their job due to the pandemic onto the person who happens to be that person’s landlord; it’s a burden we should all be sharing.

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Landlords are not working class, LOL

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Not the big ones who own buildings with 25 or 50 units, but the ones who rent out the other two floors of the triple-decker in which they live typically are working-class. A fair bit of the time, they really do need those rent payments to make the mortgage (and pay the water/heating bills, maintenance, snow removal, etc.)

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...someone sitting on a $1,000,000+ property? I guess it depends on your definition.
They could sell it and be a millionaire! Then they'd have to live somewhere, of course.

Just underlines how broken our housing situation is in this country and how much work it will take to fix it, but to me the most important thing is that people aren't kicked out in the street in the meantime.

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And most of the money would go to the bank who owns the mortgage.

You're right about how the housing system in this country is broken although I don't think making a blanket eviction ban helps that problem.

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person owns a 3-decker in Boston, they must've bought it 20+ years ago to afford it, right? Hard to see how they wouldn't have some substantial equity built up in that time.

Anecdotally, I know a bartender who bought a 3-decker in Cambridge in the 1990's to fix up and sold it 2 years ago for 10x more than he bought it. He may've still been considered working class while he was renting it out I guess, but getting that $2.5 million return means he retired to a beautiful historic house on the south shore now (and more power to him)

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There's a huge shortage of housing. Nothing short of building new units (or vastly improving public transportation) is going to fix that problem.

They city can (and is) subsidizing renters and small owners but that isn't a long term fix. Nor is rent control or anything else short of adding more housing or greatly decreasing demand.

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That your example is pretty much the way most working-/middle-class folks in America are able to build wealth -- whether that's from owning a property they can partially rent out, or just from appreciation of value in their single-family homes.

And sometimes it's risky -- folks have lost their shirts in real estate, like during the global financial crisis in 2007-2009.

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There is no way in hell working/middle class folks can afford to buy investment property or even a decent home in Boston/Cambridge/Somerville.

Even if that made sense in the past, it sure as hell doesn't now.

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You are working class if you earn a living by selling your labor. Hording housing and extracting a profit from people who can't afford to buy a home of their own is not labor. By definition, landlords are part of the capitalist class, not the working class. The small time landlords you're talking about are the petit bourgeoisie. They are the segment of society who are always on the cusp of being proletarianized if shit goes south in the economy. But please excuse me if their need to find a real job doesn't garner as much sympathy from me as a family being kicked out onto the street.

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The Supreme Court didn’t have a problem with halting evictions. It had a problem with the CDC extending its emergency powers. All Congress has to do is act.

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I’ll be the only one to stay I’m glad she did this since everyone else, as usual, is more concerned about what she can/cannot do as acting mayor. Thanks, Mayor Janey!

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It's what any politian is allowed to do on the basis of emergency declarations.

Why not just ban evictions permanently?

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Yes, hearing this should alleviate much stress for people stuck with not-so-great landlords for now.

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Why not car payments? Or how about Xfinity
or Eversource, etc.

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Eversource can't shut off your power between mid-November and mid-March every year.

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Is Ayanna Pressley getting her rent?

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