The Protecting Renters From Evictions And Fees Act Would Extend And Expand The Eviction Moratorium For Renters That Ends On July 24, 2020; Lawmakers Urge Congress To Pass Their Bill To Help Mitigate The Hardship Many Americans Continue To Or Will Experience Due To The Economic Ramifications Of The Coronavirus Crisis
Washington, DC – United States Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Ranking Member of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection, Congressman Jesús G. “Chuy” García (D-IL), a member of the House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services, and Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced the Protecting Renters from Evictions and Fees Act of 2020.
“This pandemic is yet another painful reminder of just how vulnerable millions of workers are to a single setback – whether it is losing your job, a broken-down car, or just being late on rent,” said Senator Brown. “Congress must act now to keep families in their homes. That’s why I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing the Protecting Renters from Evictions and Fees Act of 2020 to protect renters from evictions.”
“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. 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,” said Senator Warren.
“No one should be kicked out of their home during a pandemic, and as existing eviction moratoriums expire it’s more important than ever for Congress to protect renters. Senator Elizabeth Warren, Congresswoman Barbara Lee and I are introducing the Protecting Renters from Eviction And Fees Act to ensure that no tenant can be evicted,” said Congressman García. “My district consists principally of immigrant and working class communities, and more than half of my constituents are renters. As our country faces historic levels of unemployment and with another first of the month around the corner, people in my district are hurting– the last thing they should worry about is having a roof over their head.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented national housing emergency – families around the country are struggling to pay the bills, keep food on the table, and keep a roof over their heads,” said Congresswoman Lee. “As physical distancing and stay at home orders continue, keeping safe means having a home to stay inside. Congress must continue to lead with protection against housing evictions to ensure that all families have a space to live.”
Even before the coronavirus pandemic, 25 percent of renters had housing costs greater than half of their income. Families already living on the margin are now facing increased economic vulnerability due to COVID-19. Experts are warning that ending the moratorium now could lead to “an avalanche of evictions” as Americans continue to face high unemployment rates – which are as high as 16.8 percent for black Americans and 13.3 percent overall. The latest U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey finds that 30 percent of renters have no or little confidence they can make their next housing payment; and renters of color are disproportionately more likely to be concerned about making their next housing payment.
The Protecting Renters from Evictions and Fees Act extends the federal eviction moratorium to March 27, 2021, one year after the date of enactment of the CARES Act, and expands the moratorium to cover substantially all renters. The bill also prohibits fees, fines, and extra charges due to nonpayment of rent. The HEROES Act, already passed by the House of Representatives, includes the same extension and universal expansion of the federal eviction moratorium.
Senate cosponsors include: Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Tina Smith (D-MN), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Kamala Harris (D-CA).
The Protecting Renters from Evictions and Fees Act of 2020 is endorsed by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, National Housing Law Project, and Action Center on Race and the Economy.
Senator Brown has made it a priority to ensure families and individuals have access to stable housing amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He recently joined Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), and Congressman Denny Heck (D-WA) in introducing the Emergency Rental Assistance and Rental Market Stabilization Act of 2020, legislation that would authorize $100 billion for an emergency rental assistance program to help renters stay housed during and after the pandemic.