Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Emergency Notice

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Can my landlord evict me if I get COVID-19?

Produced by Community Legal Aid and Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Created April 23, 2020

On April 20, 2020, Massachusetts passed an emergency law to stop most evictions during the COVID-19 state of emergency. See COVID-19 Housing.  But your landlord can try to go to court to evict you if there is a health and safety risk.  

But even if your landlord gets to court, they probably cannot evict you just because you, or someone in your household:

  • Has COVID-19, or
  • Your landlord believes someone in your household does.

Evicting someone because they have or are believed to have COVID-19 is probably a form of “housing discrimination” under fair housing laws.

Fair housing laws tell landlords they cannot discriminate based on disability or national origin.

A court might decide that your landlord is discriminating against you if they:

  • Send you a notice to quit, or try to evict you because you have COVID-19.
  • Send you a notice to quit, or try to evict you because they think you have COVID-19.
  • Force you to quarantine.
  • Ban you from common areas.
  • Tell you to follow different rules than other tenants because they think you have COVID-19.
  • Refuse to rent to you because they think you have COVID-19.
  • Refuse to rent to you because of your national origin.
  • Treat you differently because of your national origin.

It is probably discriminatory for a shelter to:

  • Turn you away, or
  • Asks to leave,

because they think you have COVID-19.  But you may be sent to an isolation site if you test positive as a protective step.

There are some limited exceptions when fair housing laws do not apply.

If your landlord is discriminating against you, or if your landlord sends you a notice to quit, or tries to evict you, try to get a lawyer.

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