Amendment ID: S2842-47-R1
Redraft Amendment 47
Promoting Housing Opportunity and Mobility through Eviction Sealing (HOMES)
Messrs. Boncore, Collins and Eldridge, Ms. Jehlen, Ms. Comerford, Ms. Chang-Diaz, Messrs. Crighton and Montigny, Ms. Rausch, Messrs. O'Connor and Cyr move that the proposed new text be amended by inserting after section 27 the following 2 sections:-
“SECTION 27A. Section 2 of chapter 239 of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by adding the following paragraph:-
The defendant named in a summary process summons and complaint shall not include a minor; provided, however, that if a minor is named, the name of the minor shall be expunged from any court record and electronic docket entry.
SECTION 27B. Said chapter 239 is hereby amended by adding the following section:-
Section 15. (a) As used in this section, the following words shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly requires otherwise:-
“Consumer report”, a written, oral or other communication of any information by a consumer reporting agency bearing on a person’s credit worthiness, credit standing or credit capacity that is used or expected to be used or collected in whole or in part for the purpose of serving as a factor in establishing the person’s eligibility for rental housing or other purposes authorized under section 51 of chapter 93.
“Consumer reporting agency”, an individual, partnership, corporation, trust, estate, cooperative, association, government or governmental subdivision or agency or other entity that, for monetary fees, dues or on a cooperative nonprofit basis, regularly engages, in whole or in part, in the practice of assembling or evaluating consumer credit information or other information on consumers for the purpose of furnishing consumer reports to third parties.
''Court'', the trial court of the commonwealth established pursuant to section 1 of chapter 211B and any departments or offices established within the trial court.
"Court record", paper or electronic records or data in any communicable form compiled by, on file with or in the care custody or control of the court that concern a person and relate to the nature or disposition of an eviction action or a lessor action.
“Eviction action”, (i) a summary process action under this chapter to recover possession of residential premises; (ii) a civil action under section 19 of chapter 139 to obtain an order requiring a tenant or occupant to vacate residential premises; (iii) a civil action brought pursuant to sections 11, 12 or 13 of chapter 186 or subsection (a) of section 4 of chapter 186A; or (iv) any other civil action brought against a tenant or occupant of residential premises to obtain possession of or exclusive access to the residential premises.
“Lessor action”, any civil action brought against the owner, manager or lessor of residential premises by the tenant or occupant of such premises relating to or arising out of such property, rental, tenancy or occupancy for breach of warranty, breach of any material provision of the rental agreement or violation of any other law.
"No-fault eviction", any eviction action in which the notice to quit, notice of termination or complaint does not include an allegation of nonpayment of rent or of a violation of any material term of the tenancy by the tenant or occupant; provided, however, that a “no-fault eviction” shall include an action brought after termination of a tenancy for economic, business or other reasons not constituting a violation of the terms of the tenancy.
(b) Any person having a court record of a no-fault eviction on file in a court may petition the court to seal the court record at any time after the conclusion of the action, including the exhaustion of all rights of appeal. The petition shall be on a form furnished by the trial court of the commonwealth, signed under the penalties of perjury and filed in the same court as the action sought to be sealed. If an action was active in more than 1 court during its pendency, then a petition may be filed in each such court. Notice need not be given to parties to the original action. The court may, in its discretion, process such petitions administratively without a hearing.
(c) Upon motion and for good cause shown or as otherwise authorized by this section, court records sealed under this section may, at the discretion of the court and upon a balancing of the interests of the litigants and the public in nondisclosure of the information with the interests of the requesting party, be made available for scholarly, educational, journalistic or governmental purposes only; provided, however, that identifying information of parties shall remain sealed unless the court determines that release of such information is appropriate under this paragraph and necessary to fulfill the purpose of the request. Nothing in this paragraph shall be deemed to permit the release of personal identifying information for commercial purposes.
(d) Nothing in this section shall prohibit the dissemination of information regarding a money judgment as necessary for the sole purpose of collection.
(e) A consumer reporting agency shall not disclose the existence of or information regarding a court record of a no-fault eviction action sealed under this section or use information contained in a sealed court record as a factor to determine any score or recommendation to be included in a consumer report unless the court record was available for inspection with the court within 30 days of the report date. A consumer reporting agency may include in a consumer report information found in publicly-available court records; provided, however, that the consumer report shall include a person’s full name, whether an eviction action was a fault eviction, a no-fault eviction or a lessor action and the outcome of any eviction action if such information is contained in the publicly-available court record. Information contained in a sealed court record shall be removed from the consumer report or from the calculation of any score or recommendation to be included in a consumer report within 30 days of the sealing of the court record from which it is derived. Any credit reporting agency that violates this subsection shall be liable in tort, in a court of competent jurisdiction, to the person who is the subject of the consumer report for damages or for $100 per day of such violation, whichever is greater, and the costs of the action, including reasonable attorney’s fees. Nothing in this subsection shall be deemed to waive the rights or remedies of any person under any other law or regulation.
(f) An application used to screen applicants for housing or credit that seeks information concerning prior eviction actions of the applicant shall include the following statement: “An applicant for housing or credit with a sealed record on file with the court in a no-fault eviction action may answer ‘no record’ to an inquiry relative to that sealed court record.”
(g) A party who obtains a judgment in an eviction action or a lessor action shall, not more than 14 days after satisfaction of the judgment, file with the court in which the judgment was entered a notice of satisfaction of the judgment. A party that has satisfied a judgment may, upon noncompliance with this subsection by the other party, seek equitable relief to correct the court record and shall be entitled to costs and reasonable attorney’s fees. Upon the filing of a notice of satisfaction of judgment or court judgment deeming the judgment satisfied in an eviction action or lessor action, a party may petition the court to seal the court record pertaining to that action. The petition shall be on a form furnished by the trial court of the commonwealth, signed under the penalties of perjury and filed in the same court as the action sought to be sealed. If an action was active in more than 1 court during its pendency, a petition may be filed in each such court. Notice need not be given to parties to the original action. The court shall comply with the petitioner’s request and seal the court record if the judgment has been satisfied and the action has concluded with all rights of appeal exhausted. The court may process such petitions administratively without a hearing.