Isn't it time to guarantee existing housing for tenants in Massachusetts?

  • by: Peter Vickery
  • recipient: Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives

People are hurting in Massachusetts.

State government's needed response to the COVID 19 pandemic is putting people out of work, and they can't afford to pay rent.

Landlords depend on those rent checks to pay their bills, e.g. their employees, their mortgages, and their taxes.

And renters need to know that they won't be evicted for non-payment no matter how long this emergency lasts.

Landlords and tenants alike need the Legislature to step up and guarantee rent payments for people affected by the emergency.

In order to safeguard homes during and after the emergency, the Legislature needs to act now and issue surety bonds.

A surety bond is a guarantee that if one party to a contract does not perform its obligations (e.g. fails to make timely payments) an outsider will pick up some or all of the tab so that the other party to the contract does not lose out. It is a way to insure against loss.

We need surety bonds now so that that if tenants can't make their rent payments, somebody will step up and stand surety for them. 

And in this crisis the only entity with the resources to provide the guarantee by issuing surety bonds is the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

The Legislature can make this happen. Our Constitution vests the sole authority to initiate money bills, the so-called power of the purse, in the House of Representatives, and the Speaker of the House should act immediately. He has the power to push the necessary legislation through.

We call upon the Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives to initiate legislation to issue surety bonds to ensure that the rent gets paid and housing is guaranteed.

The time for action is now!

Update #23 years ago
We are just 100 or so signatures short of our goal of 1,000. So please ask one other person to sign today.

Our rent-guarantee proposal is even more important now that Congress has imposed a 4-month eviction moratorium on "covered properties" (e.g. those with federally backed mortgages). The new law bars owners from issuing notices to quit or starting eviction proceedings. But it does not free owners from their duty to keep rental housing habitable, which costs money. We need surety bonds!
Update #13 years ago
Thank you for signing the petition. As Shunlian L put it, "With non-payment from the tenant, as landlords who have mortgage loan on this property, we are in deep financial pain caused and complicated by the COVID 19 pandemic. Help, please!"

Please invite others to sign today.

-- Peter
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