This bill amends the Massachusetts post-foreclosure tenant law, Chapter 186a, to allow homeowners and their families to remain in their homes and pay rent after foreclosure under certain limited circumstances for a limited period of time. It also strengthens Chapter186a for all post-foreclosure tenants by, for instance, clarifying how penalties for violations are imposed.
This bill is a creative response to the difficulties faced by municipalities in crafting durable affordable housing restrictions that assure properties will remain affordable for persons of modest means through successive transactions and as the value of real estate goes up. The bill would create in statute an “estate in land” (to be known as the Statutory Housing Covenant) that would limit the property to a certain value (the affordable value) for use as owner-occupied affordable housing. As with other covenants established in Chapter 183 (such as mortgage covenants) use of the statutory housing restriction would not be mandatory, but would provide a new tool that may eventually lead to more uniformity in housing restrictions. In addition, the bill provides protections for mortgagees who lend on the affordable value.
This bill establishes rental payments for credit-building in a 3-year pilot program to be administered by EOHED. The pilot program will educate renters about rent reporting as a credit building tool, provide training to staff and tenants, conduct educational briefings, and provide ongoing financial education and coaching.
The Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP) provides very low income households with assistance in paying their rent and helps create new affordable housing for this population. This bill would codify the current program, which currently exists only as an annual budget appropriation.