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Judge once again tosses Boston eviction moratorium

A Housing Court judge yesterday denied the city's request to let its pandemic-related ban on evictions continue as it appeals her earlier decision to dismiss the ban.

Attorney Richard Vetstein, who filed an amicus brief supporting the landlords in this case, posted a copy of Housing Court Judge Irene Bagdoian's somewhat blistering decision, in which she once again said the city basically has some nerve trying to get around state housing law, that even without the ban, tenants can go to court to fight eviction and that the city's effort to negate, even if temporarily, her earlier ruling is jeopardizing the public's belief in an impartial and independent court system - in one of the few states with a constitution that explicitly separates the powers of the three branches of government.

In addition to not granting a stay of her earlier order banning the city eviction ban during an appeal, Bagdoian also ruled against two tenants, one of whom has a landlord who has been trying to evict her since 2017, well before the pandemic - and who agreed last year in court to seek a new apartment and then didn't.

Bagdoian also informed city attorneys that she keeps up with the local news, in tossing the city of Boston's attempt to get itself dismissed from the case on the grounds that the Boston Public Health Commission - which formally enacted the ban - is independent of the city, even though its directors are appointed by the mayor and has worked closely with other city agencies on Covid-19 issues.

The City's claim of non-involvement is further called into question by statements by the current elected Mayor of Boston widely disseminated in the print and broadcast media (which this Court could not avoid) that she was "disappointed with" this Court's decision invalidating the Boston Moratorium and would likely seek to appeal it (When asked during the hearing whether the current Mayor was aware that the City of Boston was seeking to be dismissed from this action, the attorney for the City of Boston said, "I don't know. I can find out.")

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Comments

I'm wondering what was Wu's vision for how this eviction moratorium was supposed to end? Was she expecting the federal government to step up and pay 2 years back rent for everyone?

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Even you know it’s dumb.

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For a week or a month seems reasonable but this far along is indefensible. .

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Why in the world does it take five years to evict a deadbeat?

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The pandemic isn’t over . People will be out of work again once omnicron wave really hits.
Kind of shocking that this judge is willing to throw people out of their homes during a public health crisis.

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and this idea will likely be seen differently as in more favorably.

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…. trump public health needs. Evictions should only be allowed right now for tenants who are a threat to public health such as smokers and ones who create enough noise to harm neighbors or who don’t wear masks in the public areas.
This Bagdoian sounds like she lives in an ivory tower.

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I’ll support forgiving/delaying rent once real estate taxes are forgiven/delayed by the city for landlords of tenants that are not paying their rent. Love how cities are saying eat the costs, but are not willing to eat the costs themselves.

Let’s be serious - most tenants that are not paying rent right now because of the pandemic will not all of a sudden pay two years plus back rent.

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Saying owning rental property is a risk and owners should just suck it up? Well living in someone else property also comes with risk, particularly when you don’t pay your rent.

Don’t want to get evicted, own and maintain your own living quarters.

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Seventy-four year old widow who rents out the top unit of her two family since her daughter moved out and needs the last 20 months of rent to continue paying her taxes and her tenant’s heat and hot water and also to hire a roofer to deal with the leak in her kitchen. At least among the people on my block, that’s who she sounds like, but ymmv.

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Automobile owners

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I would be happy to pay additional taxes to cover the rent of anyone who is at risk of eviction due to pandemic-related job loss. I am absolutely opposed to sticking the entire cost on the landlord who happens to have a tenant who lost his/her job.

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… it makes good common sense. We, most of us anyway, rely on people less well off than us. Their welfare affects our own welfare.

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Landlords who have to pay their mortgage?

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ignores her bias.

"(which this Court could not avoid)"

Every day jurors are impaneled they are asked whether they can be impartial. The fact that this judge had to apologize with this statement says to me there is inherent bias. That she also felt need to emphasize that the new mayor is somehow inappropriate in stating her goals for dealing with housing issues is not just absurd but borders on offensive. The judge is a judge. She does not have a right to use her professional position to deliver political criticisms. Privately she can call Mayor Wu whatever she wants. But when at the bench, when as the "Court" the rights of a any judge are limited to the job. Same as any employee. Or does this judge not realize she is an employee, and not some member of the Massachusetts governmental aristocracy?

What does the judge think will happen? The people evicted just disappear? No need to be concerned about more homelessness. Or that people who move in will automatically also not be affected by the fact that we are living in a pandemic.

Reminds me of a judge I overheard discussing a case - on her cell phone on the street. Which I overheard. When I mentioned to her this was seriously inappropriate she barked back with threatening to call police on me for harassing her.

Not all individuals in the jobs of judge deserve or should be (look at the Supreme Court for high proof).

The Court's language needs correction. Using the term "gifted" in a judicial decision?

Her concern about the image of the court sounds like a play to landlords. The reality is that the majority of landlords in Boston own large numbers of units.They are corporate entities. The minority are people who own just a few units. Told me by a city employee who specializes in helping the few small time landlords remaining.

My gut tells that this judge is full of her own fudge. She should be in a position of homelessness.

Law needs to protect everyone. Not just the people making the most profit or enjoying guaranteed housing.

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Thank you.

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This judge spent most of her career representing tenants in Brockton.

She had to say she could not avoid the coverage because judges are not supposed to specifically seek out news reports on cases they’re involved in.

The point of that section of the decision was that the City of Boston asked to be dismissed from the case on the grounds that the city had no control or influence over the BPHC and no connection to the moratorium. The mayor’s statements made that seem unlikely.

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And told the court the suit against them should be dismissed while also saying they were disappointed in the past decision and would appeal, the Judge was right to explain how she found out about the duplicitous statements.

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