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Despite Supreme Court ruling, Boston enacts an eviction and foreclosure moratorium

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A protest in front of the Massachusetts State House was held to rally support behind house bill HD3030, which seeks to stop evictions during the pandemic on March 14, 2021.
A protest in front of the Massachusetts State House for an eviction moratorium in March. Jim Davis/Globe Staff

BOSTON — Boston has taken action to protect residents facing eviction and foreclosure by enacting an eviction moratorium and establishing a fund to help homeowners with mortgage, insurance, and condominium fees.

The Boston Public Health Commission’s interim executive director signed a public health order Tuesday temporarily banning residential evictions, acting Mayor Kim Janey said in a statement.

The moves came just days after the US Supreme Court struck down the Centers for Disease Control’s nationwide eviction moratorium.

“The loss of federal eviction protections and the ongoing pandemic has put our most vulnerable neighbors at risk of losing their homes,” Janey said. “I am implementing a housing stability agenda to continue Boston’s public health recovery with emergency assistance for renters and homeowners who need help.”

The order “prohibits landlords and property owners from pursuing tenant eviction proceedings in the City of Boston,” the city’s statement said.

The moratorium will stay in place as long as necessary, according to the mayor’s office.

More details on the $5 million Foreclosure Prevention Fund will be released next week, the mayor’s office said. But to be eligible, a homeowner must be delinquent on those payments and priority will be given to homeowners most at risk.

City leaders started discussing an eviction moratorium after the Supreme Court’s ruling, Boston housing chief Sheila Dillon told The Boston Globe.

“We anticipate that there may be some legal challenges to this,” Dillon said. “We felt it was really important to try. We do think evictions are a public health issue.”

The statewide ban on evictions expired last October after the judge overseeing a lawsuit filed by landlords expressed skepticism over the ban’s legality.

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