The Massachusetts Bar Association strongly supports House Bill
No. 1656 and Senate Bill No. 901, which would expand the Housing
Court's geographical jurisdiction to include all communities in
Massachusetts and would add five Housing Court judges. Currently,
more than a third of Massachusetts residents do not have access to
Housing Court services.
The establishment of the Housing Court Department has provided
landlords and tenants a legal forum to effectively and efficiently
resolve cases involving a wide range of housing issues. Many areas
of the commonwealth are currently unserved by the Housing Court
Department, including major areas with large numbers of rental
units, such as Chelsea, Malden, Framingham and Barnstable County.
The MBA believes all citizens in Massachusetts deserve access to
the Housing Court's specialized services.
"The Massachusetts Bar Association strongly supports efforts to
expand the Housing Court by an additional five justices throughout
the state. These judges will bring long overdue expertise and
relief to the tens of thousands of citizens not presently being
served by the court, who face serious matters, such as evictions
and major health and sanitary code violations. Unscrupulous
landlords should not prosper at the expense of families because of
the lack of judges available to hear disputes," said MBA Chief
Legal Counsel Martin W. Healy. "The MBA believes expansion of the
Housing Court will serve a number of poor, unrepresented pro
se litigants, who comprise more than 80 percent of the Housing
Court's population. Justice delayed is justice denied."