Following industry testimony and months of advocacy efforts, the Committee on House Financial Services passed H.R. 5196, the “Expediting Assistance to Renters and Landlords Act of 2021,” which aims to address a number of Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) inefficiencies. NMHC is appreciative for the Committee’s focus on reforming this critical program but continues to oppose the bill’s inclusion of a four-month eviction moratorium contingency.
The bill includes some encouraging provisions aimed at streamlining the program, such as allowing owners to apply for assistance when they have an unresponsive resident and for vacant units; expanding the timeline for assistance eligibility for renters to 24 months due to COVID's continuing economic impact; improving self-attestation ability of residents; and providing needed clarity to grantees. The inclusion of a 120-eviction moratorium as a condition of assistance, as well as several of the other counterproductive provisions, continues to perpetuate the challenges that owners have when it comes to navigating the program.
A one-size-fits-all, nationwide eviction moratorium was never the right solution for addressing the housing hardships caused by COVID-19—and it still isn’t. Eviction moratoriums only serve to place insurmountable levels of debt on households and jeopardize the stability of housing providers harmed by revenue losses and who may be struggling to pay their mortgages, finance property operations and meet their own financial obligations. Instead, it is clear that the best way to keep people in their homes and ensure a functioning rental market is to provide residents with the resources necessary to meet their housing obligations.
For this reason, prior to the Committee’s passage, NMHC led a coalition of real estate organizations in sending a letter on September 14 urging policymakers to oppose the eviction moratorium provisions. Instead, the coalition encouraged the Committee to focus on breaking down programmatic barriers, like these eviction restrictions, that deter housing provider participation.
“As written, this mandate could leave housing providers without the rental income that they rely on to operate their business, pay their employees and importantly, maintain the structural integrity and quality of the housing for their resident communities,” the letter reads. “We believe that further revisions would reduce the barriers to housing provider participation in ERAP-funded programs and increase positive outcomes for participating renters and housing providers alike.”
As of this writing, next steps and timing for consideration by the full House are unclear. NMHC will continue to work with congressional policymakers to accelerate ERAP distribution while urging the removal of provisions that have a detrimental impact on our nation’s housing providers and renters.
- NMHC-NAA Statement for Senate Judiciary Subcommittee Hearing on Competition and Consumer Rights in Housing Markets
- Real Estate Industry Letter to House Leaders on Notice-to-Vacate
- NMHC NAA Statement on White House Eviction Reform Summit
- Senate Focuses on Rental Housing Industry As Part of ‘Rent Eats First’ Hearing
- White House Summit Focuses on Eviction Mitigation, Renter Assistance