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The Week Ahead: The Push to Expedite Emergency Rental Assistance

On Friday, September 10 at 11:00 a.m. CDT, the House Financial Services Committee will host a virtual hearing titled, “Protecting Renters During the Pandemic: Reviewing Reforms to Expedite Emergency Rental Assistance.”

With the U.S. Supreme Court recently voting 6-3 to block the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) eviction moratoria, scores of Americans remain at-risk of eviction. Rep. Maxine Waters, Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, called upon her Congressional colleagues, informing them of her plans to push Emergency Rental Assistance Reform legislation that would allow renters and landlords to quickly receive much needed relief.

The focus of the September 10hearing will be Rep. Waters’ H.R. 4791—Protecting Renters from Evictions Act of 2021, a measure that would extend the eviction moratorium through December 31, 2021.

H.R. 4791 seeks to:

  • Remove the barriers preventing tenants from receiving assistance, including by requiring grantees to accept the self-attestation of a tenant and to provide assistance directly to tenants in certain circumstances.
  • Allow landlords to directly apply for back rent after providing notice to their tenants that they intend to apply, and conditioning the federal assistance the landlord receives on certain requirements, such as the tenant being able to remain stably housed for at least 120 days after receiving the assistance.
  • Direct Treasury and grantees to conduct additional outreach to prospective tenants and landlords, including by sending mailings to all taxpayers stating that they may be eligible to apply, and taking out radio, TV, and internet ads to promote the program. The bill would provide Treasury with an additional $25 million to conduct such outreach.
  • Direct Treasury to provide more guidance to grantees on how they can engage with local governmental bodies, such as schools and libraries, to better facilitate the awareness and distribution of emergency rental assistance.
  • Require poor performing grantees to develop a performance improvement plan that describes how they will adopt best practices to improve the distribution of relief.

“As the Delta variant once again threatens the health and safety of households everywhere, we must move quickly to ensure that the emergency funding available reaches our constituents in need,” said Rep. Waters. “I plan to proceed by marking up this legislation on September 13th and will work with our leadership to promptly bring it to the floor for its consideration. With this bill, tenants and landlords in need will not only be more aware of the available resources to help them, but will be able to quickly access those funds.”

Click here for more information on the House Financial Services Committee Virtual Hearing: “Protecting Renters During the Pandemic: Reviewing Reforms to Expedite Emergency Rental Assistance.”

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About Author: Eric C. Peck

Eric C. Peck has 20-plus years’ experience covering the mortgage industry, he most recently served as Editor-in-Chief for The Mortgage Press and National Mortgage Professional Magazine. Peck graduated from the New York Institute of Technology where he received his B.A. in Communication Arts/Media. After graduating, he began his professional career with Videography Magazine before landing in the mortgage space. Peck has edited three published books and has served as Copy Editor for Entrepreneur.com.

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