BOSTON (July 7, 2020) – WinnCompanies, the largest operator of affordable housing in Massachusetts, announced today it is extending its moratorium on tenant evictions for financial hardship through Dec. 31, 2020 at Winn-owned communities throughout the Commonwealth.
The extension will apply to all residents financially impacted by COVID-19 who are eligible under the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development’s COVID-19 moratorium guidelines issued in April 2020. All residents experiencing virus-related financial hardships will be required to document and certify their financial hardship and to enter into a payment plan agreement based on their rent obligation and individual household situation.
“Compassion for our residents is not optional; it has been a founding principle of WinnCompanies’ culture and operations for 50 years,” said WinnCompanies CEO Gilbert Winn. “We believe it is vital to take a leadership role in response to this crisis. We are committed to working with each household to create a realistic payment agreement that is sustainable and achievable and that helps them identify and apply for emergency support programs for which they may be eligible.”
WinnCompanies announced in late March that it was adopting a temporary eviction moratorium on all non-essential evictions at its multifamily properties in the Commonwealth during the COVID-19 state of emergency. On April 20, Governor Baker signed emergency legislation enacting a statewide eviction moratorium, which is currently set to expire on August 18.
The company’s extension of the eviction moratorium does not waive household responsibilities under lease agreements, including their obligation to pay rent, but it will provide relief to the overwhelming stress among residents who can demonstrate a good faith effort to meet their obligations as they are able. It will not apply to any households violating their lease relative to criminal behavior, violence or any other activities deemed to be a danger to the health and safety of the community or damaging to property. All community policies will remain in place and will continue to be enforced.
“Over the past four months, WinnResidential team members have helped thousands of Massachusetts residents complete required payment plans and apply for emergency rental assistance programs, working through strong partnerships with administrative agencies, charitable groups and municipalities,” Winn said. “The state and its citizens have made heroic strides and sacrifices to bring the virus under control, but housing instability and economic hardship continues to be felt by many residents across our Massachusetts’ portfolio.”
Winn applauded city and state officials and the philanthropic community who have acted aggressively to help tenants during the COVID-19 crisis, including the Baker administration’s decision to add $20 million in crucial emergency assistance funding to The Emergency Rental and Mortgage Assistance program (ERMA) and the
Walsh administration’s decision to add $8 million to the City of Boston’s Rental Relief Fund to assist families at risk of losing their rental housing.
“As job and income losses continue to destabilize families and communities across Massachusetts, it is critical that city, state and federal governments continue to re-invest in these rental assistance programs as these funds get depleted. The public sector must continue to strengthen and sustain these important safety net programs,” Winn said. “We remain committed to working with our communities, as well as city, state and federal authorities, to improve housing stability.”