Ilhan Omar Reintroduces Bill to Cancel Rent and Mortgage Payments
'Payments through the duration of the coronavirus pandemic'
Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota has reintroduced a bill to cancel rent and mortgage payments due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The bill would “institute a nationwide cancellation of rents and home mortgage payments through the duration of the coronavirus pandemic.”
It would also set up “full payment forgiveness,” according to a press release from Omar’s office.
It states that such actions would not have a negative effect on the credit rating or rental history.
A "relief fund” for mortgage holders and landlords would be set up to make up for any financial deprivation due to non payments.
The bill would also make a voluntary “buyout fund” that would finance in full “the purchase of private rental properties by non-profits, public housing authorities, cooperatives, community land trusts, and states or local governments—in order to increase the availability of affordable housing during this downturn.”
Omar has been garnering support for the concept amid the pandemic.
When the bill was introduced in April, it failed to receive a vote as Republicans still had control of the Senate.
Omar noted that while housing opportunity was a problem before the pandemic, the coronavirus has made it worse.
She acknowledged the current $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package “extends the national rent moratorium” but admitted it was “not a long-term solution.”
“The people across this country will be forced to pay tens of thousands of dollars in back rent when it ends,” she added.
“In some cases, local governments are allowing evictions to continue despite the moratorium. In other cases, landlords are going bankrupt due to the lack of income.”
“The solution is to cancel rent and mortgage payments,” she concluded.
Democrat Ayanna Pressley stated her support for the bill on Thursday.
“Housing is a critical determinant of health, economic opportunity, and social mobility,” said Pressley.
“With the economic impact of this pandemic worsening and the threat of eviction and homelessness looming large for families nationwide, we must take every measure possible to keep families safely housed, forgive all rental debt, and ensure that the credit scores of hard-hit families are not forever tarnished.”
Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) also supported the bill:
“The federal government needs to step up and provide relief for renters while also ensuring that small mom and pop landlords who rely on rental income for survival aren’t left behind."
"It is not enough to sit back and just hope that a patchwork of eviction moratoriums keep families in their homes; we must cancel rent and mortgage payments during this crisis because housing is a human right — during a pandemic and always.”
Dianne Enriquez, the Co-Director of Community Dignity Campaigns at the Center for Popular Democracy, a group that “works to create equity, opportunity and a dynamic democracy in partnership with high-impact base-building organizations, organizing alliances, and progressive unions,” also supported the bill:
“With no clear end to this crisis in sight, it is impossible for families to prepare for the economic fallout that will come if we are expected to continue to pay rent while we are unable to earn income,” she said.
“Representative Omar’s bill to cancel rent and mortgages for the duration of the housing crisis would mean that the millions of families across the country who have lost their jobs are able to stay in their homes and not go into crushing debt during this crisis."
"Cancelling rent and mortgages also ensures that undocumented people who were locked out of federal relief have a level of reprieve. Relief cannot wait. We need Congress to pass this bill immediately.”
The bill is co-sponsored by the following:
Jamaal Bowman, Ed.D.
Raúl M. Grijalva
Bonnie Watson Coleman
Bennie G. Thompson
Eleanor Holmes Norton
Nydia M. Velázquez
Yvette D. Clarke
Frederica S. Wilson
James P. McGovern
Jerrold Nadler, and Cori Bush