Housing Court Standing Order 2-20: Temporary modifications to court operations arising from the coronavirus (COVID 19) outbreak

This addresses concerns about pending or active eviction matters filed before the pandemic –

Effective immediately, all Housing Court divisions shall remain open during regular business hours, subject to the below modifications. The First Justice and Clerk-Magistrate of each division shall collectively exercise their discretion in the scheduling of matters in satellite sessions, which may include rescheduling matters to be heard at the division’s main location. This Order is temporary and is subject to be modified or rescinded at any time, as necessary to address the fluctuating circumstances arising from the coronavirus pandemic.

Effective immediately, all non-emergency court events, including but not limited to, summary process cases, small claims matters, civil matters, ticket appeals, supplementary process proceedings, probable cause hearings, and criminal matters, shall be scheduled for, or continued to, a date no earlier than April 21, 2020.

Housing Court Standing Order 3-20: Supplement to Housing Court Standing Order 2-20 Relating to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak

This concerns what the court considers an emergency. Note that initiating evictions is not an emergency. BUT it also lists things that do constitute emergencies residents may be experiencing and for which the court may be able to provide help:

All Housing Court divisions shall remain open during regular business hours and, at least until April 6, 2020, shall hear only emergency matters. Where appropriate, such matters shall be heard telephonically or through video conferencing. “Emergency matters” in the Housing Court include the following circumstances: applications for injunctive relief, temporary restraining orders where a complaint involves a lockout, condemnation, no heat, no water, and/or no utilities; conduct and or conditions endangering the health safety and welfare of residential occupants and others; stay of levy on an execution; or where access is required to address an emergency (e.g., burst water pipe, gas fumes, etc.). Where appropriate, the Clerk-Magistrate of each division, in consultation with the respective First Justice, shall otherwise have the discretion to determine whether a matter is an “emergency” and merits immediate hearing. Where possible, all attorneys and litigants shall provide the Clerk’s Office with their respective contact information, including an e-mail address and telephone number.


AG’s Office Issues Emergency Regulation to Protect Consumers from Harmful Debt Collection Practices During Covid-19 Emergency.
This protects consumers from harmful debt collection practices and applies to all creditors and prohibits them from deceptive practices in pursuing the payment of a debt during the COVID-19 emergency, including:

  • filing any new collection lawsuit;
  • garnishing wages, earnings, properties or funds;
  • repossessing vehicles;
  • applying for or serving a capias warrant;
  • visiting or threatening to visit the household of a debtor;
  • visiting or threatening to visit the place of employment of a debtor;
  • confronting or communicating in person with a debtor regarding the collection of a debt in any public place.
  • The AG’s emergency debt collection regulation also prohibits debt collection agencies and debt buyers from making unsolicited debt collection telephone calls to Massachusetts consumers for the next 90 days, unless the state of emergency ends before that time.

Amendment to 940 CMR 3.18.pdf | Mass.gov – Expands the definition of price gouging to include of goods and services necessary for public health and safety during a declared statewide or national emergency.

Bills in the Legislature For 2019

House 1275 Senate 815 Alternate Dispute Resolution Program

PASS THESE BILL; This will allow residents to file complaints against owners and have their issues heard before The Manufactured Home Commission. This will stop court cases and thousands of dollars in court costs. This will also stop years in court for the Judge to tell the owners they were wrong and abide by the laws on the books. This is in Joint Housing Committee: House: Representative Kevin Honan, Chair, Representative Joseph McGonagle, Vice Chair. 617-722-2470 Senate: Senator Brendon Crighton, Chair Senator Julian Cyr, Vice Chair 617-722-1350

House 3400: Background Checks PASS THIS BILL: This will pass the cost of background/credit check on to the resident coming into the community. The owner won’t have to pass the cost onto us if this passes This is in The House Judiciary Committee. Senate: Senator James Eldridge, Chair, Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz Vice Chair. 617-722-1120. House: Representative Clair Cronin, Chair, Representative Michael Day, Vice Chair 617-722-2396.

House 3006:  OPPOSED Change in rent: Subsection (2) of Section 32I of Chapter 140 to strike out the words or change in rent.  The current law reads: (2) Any rule or change in rent which does not apply uniformly to all manufactured home residents of a similar class shall create a rebuttable presumption that such rule or change in rent is unfair. This is in the Joint Housing Committee as House 1275. See above for contact information.

House 2903: Water Submetering: OPPOSED: There are several reasons:

  • Who pays to read the meters, bill, collect unpaid bills?
  • Who pays for the water before the meter?
  • Who is responsible for utility regulations, and clean water acts mandated?
  • Federal Court upheld the EPA regulations to not meter manufactured housing.
  • Who pays for repair of meter and freezing?

This is in the Joint Committee on Telecommunications Utilities & Energy

Senate: Senator Michael Barrett, Chair, Senator Marc Pacheco, Vice Chair

617-722-1572. House: Representative Thomas Golden, Chair, Representative Carolyn Dykema, Vice Chair 617-722-2263

House 2577 OPPOSED: Tax credit for residents replacing oil tanks

The law states now that the owners of the community are responsible for replacing oil tanks. That has been upheld by the Attorney General’s Office. If this bill passes it will encourage the owners to make the residents pay for the oil tanks that they are responsible for. The owners can recoup their cost through a capital improvement cost over time. This is in the Joint Committee on Revenue. Senate: Senator Adam Hind, Chair, Senator William Brownsberger, Vice Chair 617-722-1625. House: Representative Mark Cusack, Chair, Representative Paul Schmid III Vice Chair. 617-722-2320

House 1328 OPPOSED: Mobile Home Tax:This bill is intended to give the Cities and Towns the right to increase our Mobile Home Tax that we pay now of $6, $9, or $12 per month. They want to allow the Cities and Towns to increase this by what ever they want. This is in the Joint

Attorney General’s office has added an online complaint portal

The Attorney General’s office has added a link to the online complaint portal right on the Manufactured Housing Website. On the site you will see the portal to link you for a complaint process.

This will enable the Attorney General’s Manufactured Housing Unit to process your complaints faster. If possible please use this for a quick response. There is still the phone 617-727-2000 X 2460 or 617-963-2460.


ROC USA® was launched in May 2008 to serve one mission: To make quality resident ownership viable nationwide and to expand economic opportunities for homeowners in manufactured (aka “mobile”) home communities.

Today, nine regional nonprofits represent the Certified Technical Assistance Providers (CTAPs) in ROC USA Network. From the start, a strong role for CTAPs who have a presence in local markets for in-person training as well as market development and partnership building has been critical to the mission.

ROC USA continues to build strong national and regional relationships in support of Resident Owned Communities as it looks to realize its vision of a country in which the owners of efficient and affordable homes are economically secure in healthy and socially vibrant resident-owned communities. In spring 2018, at its 10-year anniversary, ROC USA and its affiliates supported 220 ROCs in 15 states made up of more than 14,000 homes.

There have been a lot of questions regarding some of the laws. Each month we will try to refer to the statues to some of these questions.

Can an owner stop you from hiring someone to work on your home?

· CMR940 10:05 Goods and Services

(1) Choice of Seller: An operator shall not restrict a residents in his or her choice of a seller of fuel, furnishings, goods, services or accessories connected with the rental or occupancy of a manufactured home site: (a) so long as such seller in in compliance with: 1. applicable law and: 2. applicable rules, if any, of the manufactured housing community approved by the Attorney General and the Secretary or otherwise in effect pursuant to M.G.L. c 10 sec 32L (5), including any such rules and regulations imposing, reasonable insurance requirements, as defined under 940 CMR 10:01 and (b) unless such seller has repeatedly failed to meet prevailing industry standards, as evidenced by complaints to the Attorney General’s Office, the Better Business Bureau or regulatory agencies having jurisdiction over the provision of such goods or services. Where goods or services are offered by an operator to residents, the operator also shall inform resident in writing of their right to obtain such goods and services from other providers.

· Access to Your Homesite by the Community Owner/Operator:  In general, your community owner/operator may not enter upon your leased lot without your permission. He or she may enter the site without permission only to check if it has been abandoned, inspect it, show it prior to re-leasing it, or make repairs in accordance with 940 C.M.R. 10:04 (5)(d). Normally, before entering onto your lot your community owner/operator must give a “reasonable” notice i.e. 24 hours notice– unless there is an emergency that creates an immediate threat to the property or tenant safety. 940 C.M.R 10:03(8)(b). See M.G.L. c186 sec.158 (1)(i),(ii),&(iii).

· Who is responsible for the oil tanks?    940 CMR 10:03 (2) (n) It is unfair and deceptive practice for an owner to require the resident to pay for the removal or replacement of the oil tank on the lot. 

· Who is responsible for cement slabs, lampposts, driveways? The Owner , 940CMR 10:04 (5) (F) an owner cannot require any resident to make permanent improvements to the manufactured home site, or the manufactured housing community or any of its facilities, nor assess any separate fee or charge for any such permanent improvements made by the operator, except as specifically provided for in 940CMR 10:00.