National Update – Rental Assistance and Eviction Moratorium
On Tuesday night, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. This legislation includes $25 billion in rental assistance and an extension of the CDC eviction moratorium until January 31, 2021.
While emergency rental assistance funding is something AAGD has been fighting for since the COVID-19 pandemic began – and we are very thankful to our members for making sure the voice of our industry was heard on this issue this year - we remain strongly opposed to the extension of the CDC eviction moratorium and will continue to support all legal challenges to this unconstitutional order. AAGD is also working to stop cities from adopting ordinances that delay the eviction process. So far this year, we have defeated these ordinances in seven cities in North Texas.
AAGD is very pleased that the Congress passed a bill that provides significant rental assistance funding that is paid directly to owners and managers of rental property. This funding will help ensure that our members can pay their bills – and rebuild depleted reserves - while at the same time keeping residents in their homes during this unprecedented time. However, President Trump made a statement yesterday that he does not support the bill as passed and will not sign it into law unless the amount of stimulus payment is increased from $600 to $2,000 per qualifying individual, and federal spending is eliminated in several areas.
Because the Congress has already passed the bill, the House and the Senate would have to negotiate a new bill and pass it again. This must happen before midnight on January 3, or the bill will have to be reintroduced when the new Congress begins.
If the situation changes, and President Trump signs the bill into law, here is a summary of the key provisions of the bill that are important to our industry
Here are a few important points you need to know about rental assistance in the bill.
Emergency Rental Assistance:
- $25 billion in emergency rental assistance provided by the Treasury Department to state and local governments (Texas could receive $1.9 billion in rental assistance funding).
- Funds are distributed directly to states and directly to cities with populations of 200,000 or more within 30 days.
- Funds are eligible for current or unpaid rent and utility payments (nine months of rent arrears, three months going forward) and other incurred housing expenses because of the pandemic.
- Payments are sent directly to the housing provider. Housing providers can also apply for rental assistance on behalf of the resident but must inform them and secure their consent.
- Households are eligible for rental assistance funding if:
- One or more individuals has qualified for unemployment benefits or can attest in writing that he or she has experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced other financial hardship due to the pandemic; or
- Can demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability; and
- Has a household income below 80% area median income.
We have also been made aware that some justices of the peace in North Texas are refusing to set eviction trial dates until congressional action has been taken. If you have experienced issues with JPs refusing to set eviction trials or otherwise delaying the process, please let us know. AAGD is working with TAA to advocate for consistency in justice courts across the state, and we need to hear from you so we can share this information when we are making our case for a consistent and fair eviction process.
Owners and managers of rental property should have the right to pursue eviction when necessary, and AAGD will continue to aggressively advocate for judges to enforce eviction laws and for your right to full access to the courts.
As always, please contact AAGD Government Affairs at (972) 739-9505 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.