MBA urges Housing Court expansion

Thursday, May. 28, 2015
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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."