Support an act Promoting Housing Opportunity and Mobility through Eviction Sealing (HOMES)
S. 824 and H. 3566 The HOMES ACT
As soon as an eviction is filed, a tenant has an eviction record. Regardless whether a tenant did something wrong or was actually evicted, the mere fact that they were party to an eviction or housing case is unfairly being used against tenants when they try to rent an apartment. Even winning in court hurts tenants.
Unlike criminal records, there is currently no process to seal eviction records, and the records are available online. Children are also being named in eviction proceedings, impacting future housing options for minors.
To address this issue Senator Joe Boncore, Rep. Mike Moran, and Boston Councilor Lydia Edwards have proposed the HOMES Act – An Act Promoting Housing Opportunity and Mobility Through Eviction Sealing.
S. 824 and H. 3566 will protect tenants from being unfairly branded with an eviction record if they don’t have a judgment against them, if they weren’t actually evicted or if they didn’t do anything wrong. The bill would:
Seal all eviction cases as soon as they are filed and while they pending, until and unless an allegation is proven.
Seal no-fault evictions and other types of housing cases, such as when tenants are seeking to get repairs made.
Make non-payment and fault eviction cases publicly available when there is a judgment against the tenant on the merits, or there is an agreement for judgment and the tenant has actually been evicted.
Seal all eviction records after 3 years and provide a process to seal records for good cause before the 3-year point.
Provide a process for parties, their attorneys, and other representatives to view a sealed case online so they can manage their cases remotely.
Create a process for parties to correct errors in eviction records.
Assure that when tenants satisfy their judgments or agreements for judgment, they can seal an open record.
Make it illegal for a tenant screening company or landlord to use or report a sealed court record.
Make it illegal to name minors or others not responsible for the rent as a defendant in an eviction case.
As a landlord I understand the need for due diligence when choosing a tenant. But as an advocate and Chair of Housing and Community Development, I know how hard many people are struggling to find a home. The HOMES Act balances needs for accurate information with needs for a second chance.” Boston City Councilor Lydia Edwards
Chelsea Collaborative Youth Leaders meet with Boston City Councilor Edwards about the HOMES Act