Senator Harriette Chandler

On 10-08-14 I went to Worcester to watch a debate between Senator Harriette Chandler


and Republican Paul Franco.

One of the questions that she was asked was if she thinks its fair to make landlords wait 30 days before they can charge late fees on rents while banks are allowed to charge landlords late fees on mortgages (which money, of course, comes from the rents) after 15 days. I don’t have the exact quote but she answered something to the effect that we need not worry about that, we should try to understand why tenants are late with rent 30 days to begin with and help them with that. She was rightfully booed, of course.

After the debate in the hallway I approached her and asked her why mandatory rent escrow bills are killed every year and prevented from being brought to the floor for a vote. She said it’s because we are asking for the money to be given to housing court and the court will never agree to handle the escrow money. (Since when does the Legislature need anyone to agree to it before they have a vote on a bill?) I told her that this just one of the bills. Other mandatory rent escrow bills are saying that we don’t care who is holding the money as long as it’s not the tenant – they could escrow it with a bank which then will require both landlord and tenant signatures to release it or a court order or it can be escrowed by their lawyers if they have one or by the courts or even by the Health Board (after all, when this becomes law the case load of the Health Board and Housing Courts will drop substantially and they will have more resources to be dedicated to escrowing the rent. She replied that maybe all tenants should be given a lawyer!

So that’s where we are.

She was voted in again the other day. She has been in the House of Representatives from 1995 to 2001 and a Senator from 2001. She is 77 years old right now and is the highest ranking woman in the Senate (other than the Senate President), currently serving as the Majority Leader.