The Boston Tenants Coalition (BTC) is a coalition of grassroots tenant neighborhood groups, community development corporations, and homeless and advocacy organizations that promotes affordable housing in Boston, organized to defend and expand the rights of tenants, and to push city, state and federal government, as well as private industry to address the needs of low-income tenants. We operate from a core belief that more affordable housing needs to be both permanent and targeted to Boston’s low-income populations.

 

News

Important Action Alert!

This Tuesday Sept 26 from 1- 5pm at State House in B2- There will be a hearing on many bad & some good tenant bills and bad foreclosure bills. Over the years we have been able to beat back a lot of bad tenant bills, but landlord lobby and new more credible landlord group has some momentum to try to pass VERY BAD rent escrow bills and other bills.

We need individuals and groups to turn-out this time! The landlord lobby will! There are also a couple of VERY good bills such as Statewide and Mayor Walsh’s Home Rule on Right to Council in eviction cases and a bill expunging with eviction records (that prevent young people and others from getting homes in the future). See below. In addition, MAAPL, (Mass Alliance Against Predatory Lending) is also mobilizing folks to turn-out against some bad foreclosure bills

In addition to turn-out and calling legislators on Judiciary Committee, we are asking groups who have members in Sen Sonia Chang Diaz’s office to sign on to a letter asking her to take leadership as Vice Chair (See text below) We need to deliver this letter Monday afternoon. We also need folks in Sen Brownsberger’s to reach out to him as he is Senate Chair. Call him or we could modify this letter for him and deliver as well

More info on hearing & bills being heard:
https://malegislature.gov/Events/Hearings/Detail/2743

Sample Letter:

Dear Senator Chang-Diaz,

On Tuesday, September 26 from 1-5 pm, the Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing on bills that impact tenants. We appreciate your work on this Committee as its Senate Vice Chair and hope you can weigh-in with Senator Brownsberger on the following.

1. Pass Senator Brownsberger’s bill to expunge the names of minors and others who are not on the lease from being listed on an eviction complaint. Innocent kids and other occupants who are not responsible for the rent – just by virtue of being listed on eviction complaints – now have an “eviction record.” This eviction record is getting scooped up by private credit reporting and by landlords who use the Mass. Trial Court’s online database to do tenant screening. These kids and others will now be haunted for years by a permanent “eviction record.” (Support S. 781)

2. Oppose mandatory rent escrow bills. Judges have the discretion to order escrow and they do if a case is delayed. These bills would require judges to automatically order escrow in all cases and require tenants to pay all rent the landlord claims is due to have their day in court – even if the rent is not due. A judge should hear from the tenant before ordering them to pay escrow. (Oppose S. 778, S. 948, H. 980)

3. Oppose security deposit bill which would remove accountability and protections for tenants money. Tenants surrender thousands of dollars to landlords for security deposits. The current security deposit law is not onerous for landlords who set up good record keeping. A security deposit is the money that is often necessary to secure future housing. Unless there are multiple damages, unscrupulous landlords may hold onto deposits and be undeterred from violating the law. (Oppose H. 724)

4. Provide income eligible tenants in certain eviction cases and homeowners’s facing foreclosure with legal assistance to prevent them from becoming homeless. The majority of tenants appear and many homeowners facing foreclosure appear without counsel due to the shortage of legal services. The courts are limited by how much help they can give to only one side, so facts are not developed and claims are not properly presented. The result is unnecessary displacement, often leading to homelessness, at great human cost to the residents and to the government. NYC has adopted a right to counsel, and MA should follow suit. (Support H. 3589 and H. 831)

 

Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing – the city of Boston’s Assessment of Fair Housing

 

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Please fill out the survey below, it is a piece of the cities Assessment of Fair Housing. The data collected will help inform the city’s report about what needs to be improved, what’s lacking, and what the needs of the community are. We must be heard.

English:  bit.ly/AFFHsurvey-english;

Spanish: bit.ly/AFFHencuesta-espanol

Please call (617-423-8609) or email (kadineyse@bostontenant.org) about questions or reasonable accommodations for meetings.

Jim Brooks Stabilization Act – Just Cause Eviction

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The Jim Brooks Community Stabilization Act is named after fallen activist Jim Brooks, a long-time supporter of housing, disability, and LGBTQ rights – often through civil disobedience demonstrations. Jim helped shape the intellectual conscience of a generation of Boston advocacy organizations. He had a big influence on many in terms of not only disability politics but politics in general. As an avid political strategist and a radical theoretician, Jim dedicated many of his last years trying to stop wrongful evictions and build a housing justice movement where people come before profit.

We stand proud as a community of supporters, allies and organizations from across the city to support passage of the Jim Brooks Stabilization Act. This proposal will provide a real solution now for stabilizing some of the most vulnerable residents in Boston and provide accountability for developers who are flipping our neighborhoods with no-fault evictions and increasing rents in Boston.

  • We need housing stability and development without displacement.
  • We need accountability for developers who are flipping our neighborhoods with no-fault evictions and increasing rents.
  • We want real solutions for stabilizing the rent in Boston, so that city can maintain its rich socioeconomic, cultural, and racial diversity.

Call your district councilor and At-Large Councilors NOW– Tell them to SUPPORT AND SAY YES TO JIM BROOKS STABILIZATION ACT

Read more about the bill here. Call your city councilor today and ask that they support this new bill that will help ensure that Boston renters are aware of their rights and offers helpful aid. Check out our Facebook for the Hearing Facebook event, any media on this issue and updates on other housing campaigns.

 

Michael Stone Scholars Fund

Michael_Stone_at_BTC-RTC_rally_with_Boston_median_income_chart_on_racial_disparities_chart.2Over the past several months, the Stone Scholars Advisory committee, working together with the Boston Tenant Coalition, sketched a research agenda for the Fund that will ensure continuity of the critical annual research Michael had long done on a pro bono basis for our tenant advocacy.

We want to celebrate our first Michael Stone Scholar Ian Whitney, a UMass Boston Undergraduate student and welcome our second; Rose Southard, also a UMass Boston Undergraduate student. We have finalized the design of the project and have identified our final cohort of UMass partners. Read more about this fund here.

 

Boston Displacement Mapping

BD mapCheck out this new Boston displacement map to learn more about the Boston housing crisis and follow people’s stories about their displacement experiences.

Check out this 90.9 WBUR post about tenant advocates calling for new tenant protections.

 

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