Saturday, March 29, 2014

Housing Court Expansion Proposal

In a press release last month, it was announced that the Judicial Branch submitted a proposal to the Legislature to expand the Housing Court to the entire Commonwealth by July 1, 2015.  The Access to Justice Commission recommended this expansion proposal.  "Its growth over the ensuing decades has been patchwork in nature: about 20 percent of Massachusetts in geographic terms is not covered by a Housing Court and, since the uncovered areas are quite populous, about 30 percent of the state’s population does not have access to a Housing Court."

Ralph D. Gants, Justice of the Supreme Court, said “We believe that all residents of the Commonwealth, regardless of where they live, should have the opportunity to have their housing case heard by a Housing Court, and benefit from its specialized expertise in residential housing matters.”

“Expanding the Housing Court is in line with the Trial Court’s mission of delivering justice with dignity and speed," said Paula M. Carey, Chief Justice of the Trial Court. "This expansion offers all parties involved in housing issues—landlords, tenants, property owners, and code enforcers—the benefits of the efficacy and expertise of Housing Court adjudication in a broad range of cases.”

According to Steven D. Pierce, Chief Justice of the Housing Court, "The Housing Court has a record of cost-effective operations. Expanding this specialty court statewide can capitalize on that efficiency and expand on access to justice at the same time. Housing Courts provide swift and fair adjudication as well as access to services and programs that can help stabilize housing situations between landlords and tenants. We look forward to working with the Legislature to expand Housing Court jurisdiction to cover all of the state’s residents.”

See current list of Housing Courts by County.