Amid the coronavirus pandemic, millions have lost their jobs, and now temporary eviction moratoriums are coming to an end, and back rent owed is coming due. As states begin to reopen, housing courts are also beginning to reopen, which could cause a spike in homelessness.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Ma) is working to prevent a housing crisis by introducing legislation that would implement a nationwide moratorium on evictions. The Protect Renters from Evictions and Fees Act would extend eviction protections for nonpayment of rent for one year, beginning March 27, 2020. The Act would expand legislation for the current federal eviction moratorium to include most renters, Vox is reporting.
The current federal moratorium in place falls under the CARES Act and grants renters a 120-day moratorium on evictions. Still, it limits those covered to the people who live in homes with federally backed mortgages or are in federally assisted housing. The moratorium is set to expire on July 25, 2020.
Warren’s bill would extend the period of protection for another eight months and would expand the bill to include almost all renters. The bill would also prevent landlords from charging fees for nonpayment of rent and require landlords to give 30 days eviction notice once the moratorium expires.
“Renters who have lost their job or had their income reduced shouldn’t have to fear losing their homes in the middle of a pandemic,” Warren told Vox in a statement. “Housing is a human right and an absolute necessity to keep families safe during this crisis, and Congress must step in now to help keep people in their homes.”
Still, the moratorium is a temporary solution, not a long term fix for the housing crisis resulting from the pandemic. When the moratorium ends, rent comes due, including arrears, and renters still may not be able to make payment. 40 million people are out of work due to the pandemic, and even with businesses opening back up, some have seen their wages or hours cut, making it difficult to catch up.