Winchester Select Board opts to extend eviction moratorium to May 1

The Winchester Select Board unanimously voted to sign an emergency resolution on evictions during its virtual session on February 22nd.

The resolution began with a request from the local chapter of the NAACP to the Select Board to apply an eviction moratorium, which was seen at the state and federal levels.

“There are problems with our authority at the local level. I think we were looking for a solution to encourage any type of property owner or dispute with tenants to really step back and work with us and with the tenants and the local welfare offices find common ground to get an eviction in to prevent this difficult time, ”said Chairman Michael Bettencourt.

The Select Board discussed the problem with the Housing Partnership Board. Bettencourt said there was an interest in making this resolution available to landlords and tenants as well as social welfare offices in order to prevent eviction processes.

“I know from my experience and practice that there is a lot of help out there right now to help tenants stay in their homes and support them,” he said. “I hope we can do the same by connecting them to what is available at the local and state levels because it seems that there are some resources there and hopefully more at the federal level.”

The resources for local residents are published on the city’s website.

The resolution urges all landlords, public housing authorities and others providing shelter in the city to waive all evictions for non-payment of rent or for no reason by a Winchester resident during the pandemic, unless something prohibits enforcement of an eviction that Is deemed necessary for public health or safety.

The resolution calls on Governor Charlie Baker to re-enact a nationwide moratorium and hold it until the end of the CDC moratorium or the governor’s declared public health emergency.

The Winchester resolution will remain in effect until May 1st.

The U.S. Department of Justice said on Feb.27 it would appeal a judge’s decision that the nationwide eviction moratorium was unlawful during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The CDC’s approval, issued by Congress, covers most of the residential evictions to help contain the spread of the coronavirus. A federal judge in Texas ruled February 25th that Congress did not have the power.

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