New Tenants' Rights Ordinance Takes Effect October 14, 2020

The Cambridge City Council has adopted a new ordinance entitled “Tenants’ Rights and Resources Notification” which will go into effect on October 14, 2020. The purpose of the Ordinance is to inform Cambridge residents of housing rights and resources available to them.

Under the requirements of the Ordinance, at the inception of a tenancy and when a landlord or foreclosing owner serves the tenant or former homeowner with a notice to quit or notice of lease nonrenewal or expiration, the tenant or former homeowner must be provided with a notice of basic housing rights and resources, including a list of organizations available to assist tenants and/or former homeowners on a form or forms prepared by the City.

If a landlord or foreclosing owner is exercising a right of lease nonrenewal or expiration, the landlord must also provide a written notice prepared by the City at least 30 days prior to commencing a summary process action against the tenant or former homeowner. Notices need to be provided in-hand or by both certified mail and first-class mail.

The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the need for both landlords and tenants to understand and communicate their respective rights and responsibilities.

The provisions of this Ordinance apply to all rental units and housing accommodations in the City of Cambridge. However, the provisions of this Ordinance do not apply to the following types of units:

(1) Rental units in any hospital, skilled nursing facility or health facility.
(2) Rental units in a nonprofit facility that has the primary purpose of providing short term treatment, assistance or therapy for alcohol, drug or other substance abuse.
(3) Short term rental units as set forth in Article 4, Section 4.60 of the Cambridge Zoning Ordinance.

In the coming weeks, the City will be rolling out educational materials and forms focusing on responsibilities, tips, and resources consistent with the provisions of the Ordinance.

For more information, please contact the Housing Liaison at 617-349-6337 or mpensak@cambridgema.gov.

Page was posted on 9/18/2020 6:32 PM
Page was last modified on 9/18/2020 6:33 PM
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