A rent escrow bill will protect condo owners

from rent-scamming renters

SPOA is alerting condo owners and condo associations that a bill at the State House will have a serious impact on them –protecting them from abusive renters.

In particular, our state legislators are considering a “rent escrow” bill to stop scamming renters from abusing common areas and their condo units in order to live rent-free. We support this bill.

We need to rally condo owners and associations to contact their state legislators to persuade them to act favorably towards condominiums.

Whether you rent your condo or owner-occupy it, this bill will affect the quality of life in your condo and your wallet.

Half of all Boston condos are rented and many others throughout the state are rented. So the influence of condo renters could be tremendous, especially since condo owners are the smallest, most vulnerable, and least organized owners.

A RENT ESCROW BILL to stop the “free rent trick” (H.3623)

We support a “rent escrow” bill that would protect condo owners from renters living rent-free for long periods at the condo’s expense.

Here’s how the “free rent trick” works when renters stop paying rent. First, the condo owner sends them an eviction notice. Then the renters call the housing inspector. Then the owner and the association get a list of code violations from the city. And now the renters claim they are “withholding” the rent because of those violations. They are following a defective state law that allows this rent withholding. It allows them to keep the rent when something is wrong with their apartment or building rather than requiring them to pay it into an escrow account at court.

Now the condo owner can’t evict the nuisance renters, making the condo a living hell. The owner and the association need to repair those violations fast so the owner can proceed with eviction. But the renters won’t let the owner or the owner’s worker in, because as long as those code violations exist, the renters can live rent-free.

If the condo owner and the association finally do the repairs, the renters then undo them all afterwards! Or they call the inspector with a new list of violations that they created! They are damaging the condo and common areas in order to live rent-free as long as possible. When the judge finally figures it out, the renters have cost the condo owner and the condo association many months of lost revenue, expensive repairs, and high attorney’s fees.

A “rent escrow” bill (H.3623) would make condo renters pay the withheld rent to the court while those violations are being repaired. If the renters don’t pay (“escrow” the rent), they get promptly evicted for not paying their rent. If they do escrow, the condo owner gets paid the escrowed rent after the repairs are done and can pay any past-due fees and special assessments and stay current.

Rent escrowing is the only fair thing to do when a renter says they don’t have to pay the rent because of bad conditions in the condo or common areas.

TALK TO YOUR STATE SENATOR AND REPRESENTATIVE – IT’S EASY

Our state legislators will not vote in your best interests they do not hear from YOU, the condo owners in their districts. THEY NEED TO HEAR FROM YOU. You need to tell them to vote YES on the rent escrow bill (H.3623). Your condominium is your biggest investment. It’s your home. Act NOW!

You can call, email or write them. BUT PLEASE DO IT RIGHT NOW! All you need to say to the legislator’s aide is “Please tell Representative or Senator __________ to vote YES on H.3623, the rent escrow bill.” If you want to explain why you take your position, fine. But please take action NOW!

You can find out who your State Senator and State Representative are at this link:
www.wheredoivotema.com

Enter your home address, then scroll down the page to find “Senate in General Court” and “Rep in General Court.” These are your Senator and Representative.

Thank you for taking action NOW!