Eviction Protection is Needed...But so is Rental Assistance
I don't think anyone predicted the Corona Virus pandemic. If they did, they were probably dismissed as alarmist or slightly unhinged. The virus was reported in China in November and probably hit our shores in January sometime. In trend/indicator terms, this was no time at all. But since most states started to move into some type of 'lock-down' in March we have identified eviction protection and rental assistance as issues that are going to negatively affect individuals, families and our economic system as a whole. Its like watching a pot on the range...you know it's going to boil over at any time! The best metaphor I can think of is the 'Knight Running' scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail...the guards see Lancelot coming, but don't act until it is too late!
Here's the National Association of Realtors' take on the looming situation,
"On September 4, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declared a “temporary halt to residential evictions to prevent the further spread of COVID-19,” which applies to all residential housing. This may seem helpful to renters in the short-term. But, this notice does not relieve residents from their rent obligations, and landlords may charge late fees, penalties and interest on missed rental payments.
Right now, housing markets are strong. But a lack of rental assistance jeopardizes the entire real estate market. The eviction crisis that will occur at the end of this eviction moratorium will be significant. The current eviction moratorium will leave housing providers and renters alike struggling, and will have a devastating impact on our national economy.
More than 40% of rental units across the nation are owned by ‘mom & pop’ owners who will struggle to keep up with their financial obligations. Additionally, 37% of rental units are categorized as LLC/LP/LLP, many of which are operated by individuals who will also be negatively impacted. Many of these owners rely on their rental income to cover their own necessities, including housing, food and medical needs. More than 25% of REALTORS® own or manage rental property.
During the moratorium, property owners will struggle to make their obligations – including mortgage payments, insurance, taxes, property maintenance, utilities and staff. When the moratorium expires, renters will struggle to make up massive amounts of back rent (which could amount to over a years’ worth of rent). This will turn this pandemic into a significant housing crisis come 2021.
That’s why we, along with our coalition partners, are asking Congress to make rental assistance necessary for renters AND housing providers. Congress must enact an emergency rental assistance program that addresses the challenges for housing providers and renters alike. The House-passed HEROES Act did include rental assistance, but not sufficient to cover the number of renters covered by the CDC notice. All renters who are eligible and attest to their need for the eviction moratorium must be covered. Payments should be made directly to housing providers who provide housing authorities with copies of their residents’ attestations.
More action is coming on this issue as we will fight to protect our nation’s more than 48 million rental units and their property owners."