Judge: Lynn’s housing court is moving to Salem

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Rosa Bentley, left, and Kathy Paul, both of Lynn, from the Massachusetts Senior Action Council hold signs protesting the potential moving of Lynn Housing Court to Salem during a hearing on Tuesday. (Spenser Hasak)

LYNN — Despite opposition from tenants and landlords, the Lynn Housing Court will move to Salem next month.

The decision, by Chief Justice Timothy F. Sullivan, comes on the heels of a public hearing on the court’s closing this week where dozens of housing advocates told the judge to consider alternatives.

“Nothing changed my mind as a result of the hearing,” Sullivan said. “It would be irresponsible for me to do nothing. The question is what would be the best available option.”

Court officials say the number of cases in Lynn’s housing session has increased by more than 40 percent since 2014. As a result, corridors, conference and courtrooms are jammed, making a stressful situation, where people are dealing with possible eviction, even worse, the court argues.

Opponents say the travel time and expense to Salem will increase defaults and lead to more evictions.  

While some recommended the Lynn court be expanded in the city, Sullivan said the court cannot afford to lease space.  

State Rep. Daniel Cahill (D-Lynn), who along with the rest of the city’s delegation on Beacon Hill opposed the move, said he was disappointed it has to come to this.

“We are still talking and will convene a working group with the goal to approach housing court differently,” he said. “Many issues can be resolved outside the courtroom and that’s our goal.”

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