The COVID-19 pandemic changed a lot of business practices. It affected how many small businesses can operate and if they will be able to survive the pandemic.

In April 2020, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker signed the moratorium on evictions and foreclosures. It protects homeowners and small business owners against evictions and foreclosures during the Coronavirus. If you own a small business, it is important to understand how the bill protects your business.

House Bill 4647 temporarily stops the eviction of “nonessential” tenants and small businesses related to the COVID-19 outbreak. It also prevents foreclosures. The law does not forgive your payment requirements.

Specifics of the moratorium

The moratorium provides protections. It will last for 120 days. That time can be extended once for 90 days or 45 days after the end of the state of emergency (whichever is sooner).

There are basics of the act that affect small businesses, including:

  • Evacuation exceptions. Evictions are allowed if it is related to criminal activities or lease violations that could impact health and safety. Businesses that defaulted on leases or had leases terminated before March 10, 2020 can also be evicted.
  • Late fees and reporting credit violations. Landlords cannot charge late fees during the pandemic. They also cannot report your late payments to consumer reporting agencies.
  • Moratorium on evictions. Those protections are for residential tenants and qualifying small businesses.
  • Qualifying companies. These businesses are defined as commercial tenants that operate in one state, are not publicly traded and have less than 150 fulltime equivalent assistance employees.

Manage the system and avoid negative consequences

Small business owners will be required to provide paperwork verifying the late payments were impacted by COVID-19. Your attorney help you collect necessary paperwork and arrange payment schedules.