Mayor signs updated tenant protections

January 9, 2015
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Mayor Martin Walsh announced last month that he has signed an ordinance, introduced by Mission Hill Councilor Josh Zakim, that doubles the amount of compensation offered to tenants when their units are converted into condominiums.

The ordinance updates tenant protections, doubling the amount of relocation compensation offered to tenants when they are displaced by a condo conversion.

“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,” Walsh said in a press release. “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.”

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.

The increasing cost of real estate and the lack of affordable housing is a serious issue for many residents across the City of Boston,” Zakim said in that same release. “This ordinance is a critical step in protecting long-term tenants, especially those most vulnerable.”

“The renewal of the condo ordinance was key. We at the BTC worked on this over the years and we were happy it was passed unanimously by the Council,” Boston Tenant Coalition (BTC) Coordinator Kathy Brown told the Gazette this week. “I wish more Boston tenants could have such protections in this crazy market.”

In addition to doubling the amount of relocation compensation, the ordinance also provides other tenant protections, including one-year’s notice prior to termination of tenancy, with elderly, low-income or handicapped tenants receiving five years notice. During the notice period, annual rent increases cannot exceed the lower of 10 percent or the Consumer Price Index; the tenant has the right to purchase the unit on the same or more favorable terms as being offered to the general public; and the landlord is required to provide assistance in locating comparable replacement housing to elderly, low-income or disabled tenants.