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Mayor Walsh Signs Ordinance Extending Tenant Protections

December 22, 2014

Mayor's Office

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Mayor's Office

Delivering on a commitment of the Walsh Administration’s housing plan, Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced today that he has signed an ordinance, offered in the City Council by Councilor Josh Zakim, which doubles the amount of compensation offered to tenants when their units become converted into condominiums.  

“In order to ensure that every Bostonian is able to find safe, affordable housing, we in City government must do everything in our power to support tenants when they are at risk,” Mayor Walsh said. “I’m proud we were able to work with Councilor Zakim and his colleagues in the City Council to ensure that tenants whose units become condominiums are compensated with enough funding to help them find new housing.”  

The ordinance updates tenant protections significantly, doubling the amount of relocation compensation offered to tenants when they are displaced by a condo conversion. Displaced tenants must now be provided a relocation stipend of $6,000 or $10,000 if they are low income, elderly or disabled. The amount of these relocation benefits had not been adjusted in 10 years. With current high median rents in Boston, the funds will enable displaced tenants to better secure comparable rental housing and afford move in costs -- for example, first month’s rent, last month’s rent, and security deposit.  These increased stipends will provide additional protection for low- to moderate-income renters, the elderly and tenants with disabilities.     

The increasing cost of real estate and the lack of affordable housing is a serious issue for many residents across the City of Boston,” Councilor Zakim said. “This ordinance is a critical step in protecting long term tenants, especially those most vulnerable. I am thankful to my colleagues on the City Council and to Mayor Walsh for their support in ensuring that no Bostonians are unexpectedly left without housing and adequate resources.”   In addition to doubling the amount of relocation compensation, the Ordinance also provides other tenant protections, including:

  • Notice Requirement: All tenants receive one year of notice prior to termination of tenancy. Elderly, low-income or handicapped tenants receive 5 years notice.
  • Rent Increases Limited: During the one- or five-year notice period, annual rent increases cannot exceed the lower of 10 percent or the Consumer Price Index.
  • Right to Purchase: The tenant has the right to purchase the unit on the same or more favorable terms as being offered to the general public.
  • Relocation Assistance: The landlord is required to provide assistance in locating comparable replacement housing to elderly, low-income or handicapped tenants.

Tenants who believe they are at risk of displacement through a condominium conversion should contact the Boston Rental Housing Center, at 617-635-4200, or emailrentalhousing@boston.gov.