COVID-19 Federal Resources for Industry Advocates
As more than 52 million Americans have applied for unemployment benefits since mid-March, the apartment industry anticipates that a significant number of their residents will be affected. Moreover, as the crisis continues and renters’ savings are depleted, these ongoing challenges will interfere with renters’ ability to pay their rent, which could have cascading effects not only on the rental housing system, but state and local governments and the broader economy.
At the same time, rental housing providers are gravely concerned about their ability to keep up with their financial responsibilities. Owners and operators rely on rental income to maintain apartment communities and pay employee payroll, utilities, mortgage payments, insurance premiums and, importantly, property taxes. Nationally, apartments contribute a total of $58 billion in property taxes. Significant shortfalls in rent could affect local governments’ already strained budgets and their ability to pay for essential services, jobs and pensions.
We urge Congress to take steps as part of the final phase of COVID-19 legislation to protect renters, housing providers and the stability of the nation’s rental housing stock. Congress must consider the substantial consequences of the HEROES Act on the affordability and availability of housing and impacts on communities across the country.
- Include emergency rental assistance targeted to those impacted by COVID-19.
- It is crucial to the stability of the entire housing infrastructure. Assistance should be paid directly to housing providers to take the pressure off of renters and ensure providers, especially small operators, can continue to pay their bills.
- Forego any extension of the CARES Act eviction moratorium.
- Unlike rental assistance, a prolonged eviction moratorium does not solve renters’ ongoing financial instability. Outstanding balances compound month-after-month increasing the risk that renters will be unable to catch up and ultimately lose their housing while the financial solvency of the property is in greater jeopardy.
- Ambiguous language of the CARES Act moratorium must be clarified.
- It is inconsistent with local eviction laws, complicates compliance for housing providers, and interferes with efforts to help renters.
- Implement policies to help owners and operators maintain housing operations during the crisis, including targeted liability protections and broader eligibility for business relief.