Another portion of the real estate industry is weighing in on the sweeping eviction ban announced earlier this week. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) used its public health-related authority to place an eviction moratorium on nearly all landlords in the United States that would prevent them from evicting renters earning less than $99,000 annually (single) or $198,000 annually (jointly) if they fill out a declarations statement saying they have tried to meet their rental obligations but cannot due to a variety of COVID-19-associated causes.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR), joined the fray this week when, in the wake of the eviction ban announcement, NAR president Vince Malta issued a statement reading, in part, “While the NAR appreciates and is supportive of administrative efforts to ensure 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.” He went on to warn that the moratorium, in its current state, “will bring more havoc to our economy, not less, and will put America’s 43 million renter households at significant risk.”
The issue, Malta said, is the failure of the order to provide specific, new sources of rental assistance for property owners. These owners, most of whom are individual investors or “mom-and-pop” investors, are still required to meet their financial obligations even as tenants are released from the obligation to pay rent until December 31, 2020. Although the order does pay some degree of lip service to this issue by requiring tenants sign a document essentially saying they are doing their best to pay rent and committing to making partial payments if possible. However, while a landlord could attempt to prove a tenant had perjured themselves by signing the document and then abusing the system, most are skeptical that rents will keep coming in. The administration has countered concerns by pointing out landlords already have access to financial assistance through federal aid programs for small businesses and that tenants should be availing themselves of rental assistance.
According to the NAR, however, these requirements and proffered programs are insufficient. The group is lobbying Congress to pass “immediate legislation that would instead provide emergency rental assistance programs to housing providers”. NAR joins other organizations including the National Multifamily Housing Council and the National Apartment Association in warning of “deep concerns” about the moratorium given the lack of money for rental assistance.
Do you think the moratorium is a good idea?
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