Frustrated landlords propose a bill to create rent escrows

BOSTON (WWLP) – Massachusetts landlords say they have seen tenants damage their property so they don’t have to pay rent, and it’s putting a dent in their wallets. They call it the “Free Rent Trick.”

“A tenant will simply withhold money for a, quote unquote, code violation, many times that have been created by the tenant,” said Sandra Katz from the Worcester Property Owners Association.

Landlords told 22 News that these cases happen so often that they want a new law creating rent escrows. If tenants find a problem in their unit, the proposed bill would force them to pay their regular rent to an “escrow account” overseen by the court. Once the landlord fixes the problem, they would receive the rent money. Landlords believe that the proposed bill will be fair for both parties.

George Valeri of the Worcester Property Owners Association said, “Myself, a responsible landlord. I meet the needs of the people who rent from me and I just want a balanced playing field.”

The Joint Committee on Housing is expected to determine whether the proposed bill will make it out of the committee by March 19th.

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