CORONAVIRUS: Collections Activities Now Allowed after Recent Court Decision

In a decision on Wednesday, May 6, 2020, Federal Court Judge Stearns granted a temporary injunction enjoining the Massachusetts Attorney General from enforcing its prohibition on certain debt collection activities during the COVID-19 State of Emergency. The decision found that the AG’s 90-day moratorium on debt collections activities was a violation of the First Amendment Rights of collection agencies without providing meaningful protections for consumers. We previously advised our Massachusetts clients to refrain from initiating collections procedures during this moratorium. Goldman & Pease now advises its Massachusetts clients, particularly creditors, condominium associations, and property managers on the activities that are permissible due to the new court injunction. [Read more…]

CORONAVIRUS: Commonwealth Enacts Eviction/Foreclosure Moratorium

On April 20, 2020, Governor Baker signed Housing Bill 4647 (“House Bill”) into law. The Housing Bill provides for a moratorium (“Moratorium”) on evictions and foreclosures during the COVID-19 pandemic (i.e., a temporary prohibition on evictions and foreclosure).  The Moratorium has a severe impact on landlords and mortgage holders. The experienced attorneys at Goldman & Pease have carefully analyzed the Housing Bill and offer you pertinent information to assist you during this difficult time.

When Does the Moratorium Expire?

The Moratorium is currently in effect and will expire the sooner of:

  • August 18, 2020 (120 days after the date of the Housing Bill); or
  • 45 days after the COVID-19 emergency declaration has been lifted.

The Governor has the ability to extend the Moratorium for periods of not more than 90 days. However, the Moratorium cannot be extended for more than 45 days after the COVID-19 emergency declaration has been lifted. [Read more…]

CORONAVIRUS: How the Coronavirus is Impacting Evictions

As the Coronavirus pandemic continues to change the way our society functions, the legislature and the Massachusetts trial courts have enacted numerous orders to address the spread of the Coronavirus. The Commonwealth’s highest court endorsed an Order on April 1, 2020 which declared that only emergency matters will be heard by the Courts until May 4, 2020. The separate divisions of the trial courts (i.e., Superior Court Division, District Court Division, Housing Court Division) are responsible for defining which matters constitute an emergency.

Landlords have been faced with a difficult situation and are fighting to deal with the unknowns related to the temporary changes in eviction law. Here at Goldman & Pease, we offer you the most up-to-date information related to this pandemic and how it impacts landlords.

Housing Court Standing Order

The Chief Justice of the Housing Court issued a Standing Order on March 18, 2020. The Order is currently in effect and addresses which matters the Court will hear while the Order is in place. The Order (as discussed infra) sets forth that until at least April 6, 2020, only emergency matters will be heard by the Court. In compliance with the recent Supreme Judicial Court order, the Housing Court will soon extend the Standing Order through May 4, 2020. [Read more…]