City Council approves measure to make it a bit harder for landlords to just boot tenants

The City Council yesterday approved a measure that would require landlords of larger buildings to have a specific reason to evict tenants - and to notify the city, so it could alert tenants to their rights, WBUR reports.

The Jim Brooks Community Stabilization Act now goes to Mayor Walsh - who has said he would sign it - and then to the state legislature, which must approve the proposal as well.

Under the proposal, landlords would have to specify one of several specific reasons for evicting a tenant from a list that does not include "making a ton of money converting the unit to a condo."

Councilors Sal LaMattina and Bill Linehan - who are not seeking re-election this year - and Tim McCarthy voted against the proposal.

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So how many

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"Jobs for friends" at city hall will this overreach create?

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who will think of the landlords!

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glad we've got real stand-up people like you concerned with the real issue here - (as far as you know) hypothetical city workers making a small to middling yearly salary to prevent landlords for wantonly evicting tenants

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Unintended consequence

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If you try to protect rental rights for foreclosed former homeowners, you will make banks reluctant to rent to former homeowners.

That's not a good thing.

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I don't understand. Unless

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I don't understand. Unless the city is implementing rent control (which they can't under state law), can't a landlord evict anyone when a lease comes up by raising the rent to an amount they won't pay?

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I think there's a limit on

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I think there's a limit on what percent the rent can be increased each year. (But can't landlords also just say "nah I'm not renting next year"?)

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Nope

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There is no limit by which a landlord can raise rent. They could triple it if they wanted. And in this market, i imagine that some of them do.

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Retaliation rent increases

In Massachusetts it's illegal to use rent increases as retaliation. If you complain about a legitimate issue and the landlord doubles the rent, you'd have a case against them. Source

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So all you have to do is file

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So all you have to do is file a complaint, and then your rent increase is limited?

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No

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You'd still have to show that the increase was the result of the complaint. If your landlord, for example, doubled all tenants' rent (not just yours), that's a tough argument to make.

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In this market

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According to the BPDA - as late as last year rents on older apartments were actually falling.

Rents on new apartments were "rising" slightly, but not sure that took into account the "2 months free rent" deals that are circulating these days.

There are thousands of new units getting ready to hit the market and "Now Leasing" signs are popping up at all the former construction sites.

Is anyone going to protect the landlords if they have to lower rents?

Permit LOTS of units - let them build and let the market sort this stuff out.

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Tell it to tge BPDA

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Their stats, not mine. Guessing they have a larger sample size than you. I do know that my neighbor sold instead of rerenting because he couldn't get the same rent as last year.

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You cited them as a source.

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You cited them as a source. Do you know anyone whose rent has gone down?

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Personally?

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No. But I don't know if their rent went up either.

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Where did you read that?

I'm not asking to be annoying. I'm asking because numerous landlords balked at the proposed Just Cause Eviction rental rate cap of 5%. So the idea died. Anyone here can definitely correct me if I'm wrong, I recall no law that caps rent increases though.

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"nah I'm not renting next year"

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If I own a place and rent it out but then decide I don't want to (or some of my family wants to move in) after the lease expires, why should that be illegal?

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Old landlord

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Collects $800 a month and does absolutely no maintenance because rents are too low. Building falls down and is condemned as unfit even for entry by first responders (see big X on building) , much less habitation.

Not a good example.

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I don't get it

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Evictions are handled by Housing Court, wouldn't they have all the information at that point or from there? Why would there be for ANOTHER step?

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Not far enough

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My Rozzie landlord booted us after we had a kid. I had lived in his 3-family for 8 years, paid our rent on time every month and we were awesome tenants. He and his evil wife decided that deleading was too expensive so they made up a story about a family member conveniently needing our apartment. He gave us 3 months to find a new place and we desperately (and unsuccessfully) searched for another place in the city with a 6-month old. We wound up giving up after 3 months because he wouldn't give us more time. So we moved to Worcester and I had to find a new job.

I REALLY miss living and working in Boston.

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Jim Brooks was an admirable...

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... man. His strength and quiet determination helped many victims of rent sucking predatory landlords who exploit the poor. No honest landlord has any reason to object, in fact, this may improve business for decent landlords if the scumlords are brought to heel. No city thrives in a toxic rental market.
The passage of this act in Jim Brooks' name will bring good things none too late to Boston.
I'll be making a donation to CityLife/VidaUrbana and other community organizations whose long term efforts contributed to the passage of this act.

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What slumlords? What slums ?

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Boston has no slums. Period. Some landlords are better than others. But guess what? Some tenants are better than others too. What this has been about is "no fault" eviction. Let me give you a real life example. A tenant called me and said, the man in unit 2 threatened my daughter. I asked her if she called the police. "No". The next week the first floor tenant called and said the tenant in unit 2 "was leering" at her daughter. Did you call the police ? "no". "Please do something about this tenant. ". I asked, will you come to court and testify? "NO"
What would you do ? I'll tell you what I did. I fade unit 2 a large rent increase. They moved. it was really the only available option. It wasn't a joke. I wasn't trying to make money. My other tenants were legitimately scared.
I make no apologies.

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Amended

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Under the proposal, landlords would have to specify one of several specific reasons for evicting a tenant from a list that does not include "making a ton of money converting the unit to a condo."

Adam, they amended the act to remove this provision. All the Jim Brooks Act is now basically is that a landlord notifies the city of a pending eviction or lease ending, and the city can send the tenant info on his/her rights. That's it.

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Oh, god. That's ridiculous.

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Sure, there are legitimate reasons for evicting tenants (i. e. non-payment of rent, disturbing other tenants, especially late at night, and maliciously defacing and vandalizing and damaging the rental property), but booting out a family that had been good tenants and lived in that Roslindale apartment for 8 years with no problems just because they'd just had a kid, forcing them to totally uproot themselves and look for a new job, on the pretense that they were moving a member of their family in is beyond preposterous. It's vicious. The fact that the city is making it easier for landlords to evict tenants is pretty disgusting.

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