City of Somerville
Massachusetts

Agenda Item
208626
Placed on File
Sep 26, 2019 7:00 PM

Requesting approval of an Ordinance to be known as the Housing Stability Notification Act.

Information

Department:Housing StabilitySponsors:
Category:Mayor's RequestPurposes:Ordinance

Official Text

To the Honorable City Council:

 

I hereby submit for your Honorable City Council's consideration and approval  (1) the "Housing Stability Notification Act" (new) to require landlords to provide information on tenants rights and resources to Somerville residents whose tenancies are being terminated and (2) an amendment to Ordinance 1-11 to establish a fine for failure to comply with this new Ordinance.

 

My staff will be available to answer any questions you may have. Thank you for your consideration of this matter.

 

Respectfully Submitted,

Joseph A. Curtatone, Mayor

Meeting History

Jul 11, 2019 7:00 PM Video City Council Regular Meeting
RESULT:REFERRED FOR RECOMMENDATION
Sep 17, 2019 6:00 PM  Legislative Matters Committee Committee Meeting

Ms. Shachter presented a draft ordinance to the committee for review. There was a question about the difference between this draft ordinance and Boston’s Jim Brooks Act Home Rule petition that was not approved by the state legislature last year. This ordinance requires the landlord to provide information about a tenant’s legal rights and organizations and resources to help tenants by certified mail or by hand when a tenant is being evicted or given a notice to quit. The City Office of Housing Stability (OHS) will develop a form with this information that the landlord can use to give to the tenant. The penalties and fines in the new law would be first offense warning and second offense and subsequent offenses of $300. The question was asked if each tenant that was being evicted or told to leave could constitute a separate offense. Mr. Shapiro said he thought so but he will look into it to be sure. There were also concerns expressed about the privacy of the information when a tenant is being evicted.

Councilor Davis motioned an amendment and it was adopted unanimously:“That the Solicitor's office provide language to clarify that a failure to comply with the provisions of this ordinance shall constitute a separate violation for each Former Homeowner of a housing accommodation or individual Tenant in a Rental Unit, or other language as the Solicitor deems appropriate.”

There were discussions about the form to be developed by OHS for landlords to use to give to tenants. Councilor Ballantyne and the Chair said it should be ready before the ordinance goes into effect so that it is available to landlords then. Ms. Shachter will let the Committee know approximately when the form will be ready and she will consult with Ms. Connor on the actual date and roll out of information about the ordinance. Councilor Ballantyne asked how many residents will be affected with this ordinance. Councilor Ewen-Campen stated that 60% of the population turns over every three years and Ms. Shachter said there are 400 eviction cases filed every year, so this would likely affect many residents

RESULT:APPROVED AS AMENDED
Sep 26, 2019 7:00 PM Video City Council Regular Meeting

This item was replaced by #208941, which was Approved, Enrolled and Ordained.

RESULT:PLACED ON FILE