MALDEN – For the first time since its inception, the state housing court’s jurisdiction will be expanded to cover Malden, Representative Steve Ultrino (D – Malden) announced today. Approximately 69% of Massachusetts residents currently have access to a housing court, but Malden and 83 other communities do not.
“So much depends on a person’s housing: their community, their child’s education, their health, and even their employment,” said Representative Steve Ultrino. “By expanding access to housing courts, we can address housing instability and help landlords and tenants resolve disputes fairly, equitably, and affordably.”
Representative Ultrino has been advocating for the housing court to be expanded to Malden since he first took office in 2015. He has supported budget amendments and submitted testimony in support of the housing court expansion, working closely with the effort’s lead sponsor, Representative Chris Walsh (D – Framingham).
Housing courts connect both landlords and tenants with judges, attorneys, and agencies with expertise in navigating federal, state, and local laws on housing. Housing courts respond quickly and efficiently to code violations, protecting a building’s tenants from unsatisfactory housing conditions. Furthermore, housing courts serve the most vulnerable by helping low-income, elderly, immigrant, and disabled residents find and retain housing. They are specially equipped with court staff who can advise tenants and landlords on housing matters, saving money and ensuring access to justice by helping those without legal representation.
The state housing court, which began at Boston Housing Court in 1971, has grown slowly to cover 80% of the state geographically. However, one-third of the state, including Malden and much of Middlesex County, is not connected with a housing court.
“One of the most common constituent concerns I hear about is housing,” said Representative Ultrino. “We have a great need for housing court services in Malden, and I’m glad that our community will finally have full access to this important part of our justice system.”