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!