A Legislative Action Alert from the Boston Bar Association

As you may know, the BBA has endorsed the Trial Court’s plan to expand the Housing Court’s jurisdiction to cover the entire state.  You can read more about the plan here and here. And be sure to read this Boston Globe op-ed by Chief Justice Gants, and this fact sheet .This change would for the first time grant Housing Court access to the one-third of Massachusetts residents who currently live outside its jurisdiction.

That goal is finally within reach, as Governor Charlie Baker has included in his budget for Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17) both language authorizing the expansion and $1 million toward funding it.  This important access-to-justice issue is now in the hands of the State House of Representatives and Senate, as they take up the Governor’s plan in the coming weeks and months.

We urge you to call or e-mail your Senator and Representative to ask them to support statewide Housing Court’s jurisdiction as part of the FY17 budget.  That small step can help make a statewide Housing Court a reality for all Massachusetts residents.  You can tell them:

  • Only the Housing Court has trained, dedicated Housing Specialists who mediate cases to save the time and expense of litigation.
  • Housing Court judges have the expertise to analyze the labyrinth of federal, state, and local laws on housing.
  • Housing Court is set up to quickly and efficiently respond to emergencies and building, fire, and sanitary code violations – problems that sometimes go unaddressed in unserved municipalities, because local officials lack the time and resources to go through back-logged District Courts.
  • Housing Court’s Tenancy Preservation Program (TPP) prevents homelessness among people with disabilities.

Click here to find out who your legislators are.  And if either of them is on this list of legislators whose districts include currently unserved areas, your call is especially critical.  Thank you for all that you do to support access to justice for all in the Commonwealth.