Eviction Moratorium? Owners Need Relief, Too
September 2, 2020
This article was updated on 9/8/2020: With the U.S. Senate back in session after an August recess, NAR and its coalition partners ran an ad in Politico urging Congress to act quickly on providing rental assistance to prevent a domino housing crisis (see ad below). NAR also issued a targeted Call to Action, asking specific Federal Political Coordinators to contact their members of Congress directly with that message.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is using its authority in the name of public health to place an eviction moratorium to prevent landlords from evicting certain renters nationwide for the rest of the year. The moratorium calls up a 1944 public health law that was created to help prevent the spread of an illness, the White House announced Tuesday.
While the rule may temporarily assist struggling renters, it fails to help landlords who must still make their payments and obligations on properties, real estate professionals say. The National Association of REALTORS®, along with other housing leaders, have voiced concern about the moratorium.
“While NAR appreciates and is supportive of administrative efforts to ensure struggling Americans can remain in their homes, this order as written will bring chaos to our nation’s critical rental housing sector and put countless property owners out of business,” Vince Malta, NAR’s president, said in a statement. “Any eviction moratorium must also come with rental assistance for property owners, the vast majority of which are mom-and-pop investors and are still required to meet their financial obligations even as they cease to receive income on their properties.”
The eviction moratorium will run through Dec. 31. It applies to renters who earn less than $99,000 a year. Renters also must certify that they are unable to pay their rent due to the coronavirus crisis. When the moratorium expires at the end of the year, renters who received protection will need to make up the missed payments to their landlords.
Previous eviction moratoriums applied to only properties with federally backed mortgages from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. However, this moratorium applies to all rental units in the U.S., administration officials said.
“An untailored eviction moratorium will bring more havoc to our economy, not less, and will put America’s 43 million renter households at significant risk,” Malta warned.
National Association of REALTORS®; “Trump Administration Announces Nationwide Eviction Moratorium Through End of the Year,” USA Today (Sept. 1, 2020); and “Trump Administration Announces New Eviction Moratorium Effective Immediately,” Forbes.com (Sept. 1, 2020)
Updated: October 23, 2020