necn Investigates: Massachusetts Taking Action After Story About Eviction and Children

After necn Investigates uncovered a growing problem of local landlords putting children on eviction notices, Massachusetts lawmakers are taking action.

"From what I know now, it is something that should be prohibited," State Sen. Will Brownsberger told necn.

Brownsberger was surprised when necn Investigates first told him about the problem.

"We're seeing this increasing becoming an issue," Annette Duke of the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute said.

Being named on an eviction notice can have long last effects on a child's ability to get money for college and housing. Parents can go to court and ask the judge to drop their children as defendants. But Duke believes that's not enough.

"In California, just a couple of weeks ago, they passed a law that says cases will stay private unless the landlord gets a judgment," Duke said.

The practice, while disturbing, is legal in Massachusetts. Because there isn't a standard lease agreement that landlords use in the state, where you put your kids on the lease could make a big difference. If the children are listed as tenants instead of occupants, the kids can be on the hook financially and that could have devastating and long lasting effects.

According to a spokesperson for Massachusetts courts, last year there were nearly 41,000 eviction cases.

"We should definitely take a look at it and find out how it's happening, why it's happening, Brownsberger said.

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