Biden seeks to expand eviction and foreclosure bans | COVID-19 coronavirus news
As part of one of his first acts as president, Joe Biden will call on several federal departments and agencies to extend their deportation and foreclosure bans for those affected by the coronavirus until at least the end of March.
One of the many executive steps Biden plans to take on Wednesday is a signal from the new administration that immediate action is needed to stabilize housing for the roughly 25 million tenants and landlords who are at risk of losing their homes. lodging.
“President-elect Biden is taking historic steps from day one to move his agenda forward – including signing 15 executive actions and asking agencies to take action in two more areas,” said Jen Psaki, the new press secretary. of the White House.
The action aims to extend the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s federal moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent for another two months. The CDC order first came into effect in September, and the latest stimulus bill extended protection until January 31.
President-elect Biden will also ask the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Housing and Urban Development to extend foreclosure moratoria on federally guaranteed mortgages until March 31. He will ask these agencies to accept forbearance requests for federally guaranteed loans. mortgages until then too.
On Tuesday, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) extended its moratoria on foreclosures and evictions until the end of February. But the elected president will ask for an extension of this period. Biden will also ask companies to continue accepting forbearance requests for all loans guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
An estimated 14 million adults living in rental housing were behind on their rent in December, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. That is 1 in 5 tenants. It is estimated that 11.8 million adults are behind on their mortgage.
These gaps have a disproportionate impact on families of color. While 12% of white renters said they had not been able to catch up on rent, 24% of Latino renters and 28% of black renters said they were behind.
While Biden’s executive action will provide immediate protections, administration officials say bans on evictions and foreclosures are not enough.
That’s why the president-elect is also asking Congress to approve a Covid relief bill that would provide $ 35 billion in rent, utilities and homeless assistance. This would be in addition to the $ 25 billion in rent relief included in the second stimulus package adopted in December.
Rent relief is essential because an eviction ban does not cancel the rent. It will cost $ 76.1 billion over twelve months just to help very and very low-income households made up of tenants affected by this pandemic, according to an estimate by the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Meanwhile, the small owners are in a hurry.
Distressed tenants had been protected by a patchwork of moratoriums on federal, state and local evictions, many of which expired over the summer. The first major stimulus package offered tight protection against eviction to tenants whose owners had federally guaranteed mortgages and to those who lived in federally subsidized housing.
In September, the Centers for Disease Control put in place an eviction moratorium that protected all eligible tenants from eviction for non-payment of rent. The emergency ordinance temporarily bans new and previously filed evictions in an attempt to prevent further transmission of the coronavirus.
But it is up to the tenant to invoke the protection. And despite the ban, evictions still take place.
A federally mandated moratorium on evictions will provide much-needed relief to those on the front lines helping troubled tenants.
“If all we get is an extension of the CDC order, we will accept it,” said Dana Karni, attorney in charge of the Lone Star Legal Aid attorney’s exclusion project in Texas.
But she added that many tenants are still being evicted. In Harris County, Texas, she said it was the minority of disputed tenants who used CDC protection. The CDC order does not protect against the non-renewal of a lease by a landlord when the lease expires.
“In other words, things look awfully dark in Houston,” Karni said.