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An apartment landlord in Allston and another in Worcester have filed suit in state court seeking an emergency injunction against Massachusetts’ ban on evictions during the COVID-19 state of emergency.

The state legislature passed the measure in late April, however the closure of state courts since March also prevented many eviction filings. Housing advocates and landlord groups have raised the specter of a wave of evictions once these restrictions are lifted with hundreds of thousands left unemployed by the pandemic.

Mitchell Matorin, who owns a three-family rental property at 162 Ingelside Ave. in Worcester, and Linda Smith, who owns a three-family at 11 Harvard Terrace in Allston, both say they have tenants who ceased paying rent before the pandemic struck. Thanks to the eviction ban and the closure of the courts, court documents say, neither has been able to proceed with an eviction process. Smith uses rental income to fund her retirement, the plaintiffs’ filing states.

The plaintiffs argue the eviction ban violates the state constitution’s guarantee of access to the courts, violates free speech rights and amounts to an unconstitutional taking of their rental properties because it has “eviscerated the core remedy in their leases – the right to evict,” the complaint states.

“The operation of the Act obligates rental property owners to pay their own mortgages, real estate taxes,insurance, and water/sewer used by non-paying tenants, and to maintain their properties and comply with the state sanitary code, while being effectively deprived of the revenue required to do those things.,” the complaint states. Given the unpredictable nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, this one-sided obligation and burden will continue indefinitely and quite possibly into 2021.”

Lawyers in the case are well-known real estate attorneys Richard Vetstein and Jordana Roubicek Greenman.

The law has been blasted by landlord groups as unconstitutional and unfair, while its chief authors and housing advocates say it is necessary for public health.

Universal Hub first reported the lawsuit.

Landlords File Suit Against Eviction Ban

by James Sanna time to read: 1 min