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Natalie Higgins, we need to talk…

Natalie, I just read the most recent MassLandlords newsletter and on page 4 attorney Peter Vickery has written an excellent article about 192 H.1439 HD 3030, a bill which you support. Here is the article: 2021-06-04 Attorney Peter Vickery article on 192 H 1439 HD 3030.

You are my Representative and we have talked about these issues in the past but you keep supporting these bills. I understand that your intentions are good. You are trying to help tenants. But you don’t understand their unintended consequences. I own 45 apartments so I’ll be OK but a lot of other people won’t be.

One of the 3 fundamental laws of physics states: “For every force in one direction there is an equal force in the other direction”.

Please understand – the harder you make evictions the harder you make entry into the apartments. I used to rent to people with Good and Very Good credit but now I only consider people with Excellent credit. People will not be able to find available apartments in MA. I used to forgive an eviction record especially if it was old. Now, forget it.

If you want a better economy and low unemployment you make firing people easy, at will, as it is now, and have a safety net like Unemployment Insurance which is paid by all employers. It’s painful but it’s necessary. If you make firing difficult, you also make hiring difficult.

Same with evictions. The answer is not to continually make evictions harder and harder to the point of being impossible. The answer is to create Eviction Insurance where all multifamily building owners pay into the system and which covers let’s say 3-6 months in a motel until that person can find something else and get back on their feet.

And another thing you should do is have a system where if a court determines that you owe money to someone there is a minimum wage community service on the weekends or something that you shall do to pay them over time. If you make half of the population judgment-proof that’s hardly conducive to landlords being willing to take a chance on a prospective tenant.  There should be no such thing as “judgment-proof”.

You supported the well-intended Eviction Moratorium but one of the negative side effects of it are that it broke the Court System in MA. Because for 6 months landlords were not even allowed to file a claim, now it’s taking on average 3 months to reach a judge in Housing Court and 7 months to see a judge in District Court when it used to be only 3 weeks to see a judge in Housing Court.