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Editorial: Boston’s Eviction Ban Overreach

Editorial: Boston’s Eviction Ban Overreach

The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board reacts to the overturn of Boston’s eviction moratorium.

The pandemic has led to many abuses by government, and thank heavens for the courts. On Monday a Massachusetts judge overturned Boston’s rental eviction moratorium and rebuked the city’s public health commission for its gross “overreach of power.”

After the Supreme Court overturned the federal eviction moratorium in August, Boston’s acting mayor, Kim Janey, ordered a new local ban. Under Massachusetts law, landlords who prevail in court must hire a licensed constable to carry out the eviction. The Boston Public Health Commission’s order thwarted the enforcement of court-ordered evictions by barring landlords and constables from following through on the legal process.

That distressed 81-year-old Janet Avila, whose tenant owes more than $35,000 in back rent. David Boudreau also lost some $10,000 a month in income as a result of the moratorium, and he received a notice of foreclosure from his lender after struggling to make mortgage payments. The two sued in October.

In her Monday ruling, Massachusetts Housing Court Justice Irene Bagdoian was unsparing. “The scope of protections available to Boston tenants is for the Legislature to decide—not the BPHC,” she wrote. “Nothing in the constitution, statutes, regulations or case law permits an agency such as the BPHC to grant itself control over this Court’s power to enforce its own orders and to subvert due process.”

Read more here.

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