Mayor Walsh said this morning he is introducing a series of bills in the state legislature that, if enacted, would let the city increase the fees developers of commercial buildings have to pay into a fund aimed at increasing the stock of affordable housing, increase the surcharge on all property transactions for affordable housing, parks and historical preservation, ban arbitrary evictions of people over 75, give some low-income residents the right to a lawyer in eviction proceedings and give groups of tenants in buildings going condo the right to buy the building from its owner.
According to the mayor's office:
Current legislation mandates that a fee per square foot would be directed to the Neighborhood Housing Trust Fund and The Neighborhood Jobs Trust, with the City being allowed to take a Consumer Price Index (CPI) adjustment every three years. However, given the cyclical nature of building booms, greater flexibility has proven necessary to share the benefits of current economic growth with more residents. In order to provide Boston with the ability to make responsible adjustments to the Linkage formula as needed, the bill would eliminate the restriction on making adjustments only once every three years.
To be filed by the Community Preservation Coalition, an Act to Sustain Community Preservation Act Revenue would protect the Community Preservation Act (CPA) revenue that more than 170 cities and towns depend on for the creation of affordable housing, open space, and historic preservation. It would increase the fees for recording deeds to return the state match to closer to 50 percent. In 2018, after Boston joined the coalition of cities and towns that receive CPA funds, the match was just 19 percent.
Landlords of buildings with at least six units would have to show a good reason for evicting tenants over 75, such as the failure to cause rent or causing damage to the unit. "No fault" evictions of such tenants, for example, to clear their units to make way for condos, would be prohibited, under the proposal.
Under another proposal:
An Act to Ensure Right to Counsel in Eviction Proceedings: would provide certain low-income tenants facing eviction with a court-appointed attorney for representation, increasing housing and economic stability for vulnerable households.
A third proposal would give tenants in buildings with at least five units the right of first refusal to buy the building should the landlord put it on the market:
The Act would allow the tenants match any bona fide offer to sell the property or to assign their right to purchase to a non-profit acting on their behalf.