Governor Charlie Baker signed an order on Tuesday, July 21, that extends the moratorium on evictions and foreclosures through October 17.
The previous order, which Baker signed on April 20, would have expired on August 18.
The Governor has the authority to extend the moratorium through Chapter 65 of the Acts of 2020, called “An Act providing for a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures during the COVID-19 Emergency.”
The Governor launched the Emergency Rental and Mortgage Assistance [ERMA] program on July 1. This statewide $20 million fund assists low-income households in paying rent and mortgage payments and landlords who need rent payments to pay expenses.
ERMA is a compliment to the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) homeless prevention program that is also eligible for rent and mortgage payments.
The law suspends most residential and small business commercial evictions, as well as residential foreclosures. It does not relieve tenants or homeowners of their obligation to pay rent or make mortgage payments.
The law also:
- Prevents landlords from sending notifications to residential tenants that threaten eviction or terminating of a lease.
- Limits court actions on non-essential evictions.
- Relieves tenants, both residents and small commercial, from late fees and negative credit reporting.
- Allows landlords to use “last month’s rent” to pay for certain expenses, though not as a replacement rent payment, and only with proper notification of tenant.
- Requires lenders to grant a forbearance for up to 180 days if a homeowner experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 submits such a request.
- Allows for alternative payment agreements between lenders and borrowers regarding forbearance payments.