An Eviction Moratorium Extension is Not the Answer
Dear NAA Members,
Late yesterday, Senate Republicans released the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools (HEALS) Act, a package of bills that serves as the starting point for congressional Republicans and the White House in ongoing negotiations surrounding the next—and final—federal COVID-19 relief bill in 2020.
Importantly, the Senate’s HEALS package does not include an extension of the CARES Act federal eviction moratorium, nor does it include dedicated rental assistance funding.
The National Apartment Association (NAA) is examining the Senate package and will provide detailed analysis later this week. However, the initial review found the following provisions of importance to the industry:
- Extension of supplemental unemployment benefits, reduced from those provided by the CARES Act;
- Additional stimulus checks for qualifying households;
- New liability protection for businesses against frivolous lawsuits based on COVID-19 exposure;
- An enhanced employee hiring and retention payroll tax credit and a new refundable payroll tax credit for “qualified employee protection expenses;”
- Improvements to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), including additional monies for second loans and an extension of eligibility to some 501(c)(6) organizations (with no change in eligibility for multifamily firms);
- $113 million in funding for the Rural Rental Assistance Program; and
- $2.2 billion in funding to maintain assistance for households that currently participate in the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program.
The package is markedly different from the House-passed HEROES Act, which passed the House along party lines in May and encompasses the Democrats’ policy priorities. The HEROES Act includes $100 billion in rental assistance, but it also requires a 12-month extension of the federal eviction moratorium that would decimate the rental housing industry and devastate communities across the country. It is important to remember that each bill is a starting point for ongoing negotiations and nothing can be taken as final at this point.
Debate on the final package will continue over the coming days as Congress reconciles these competing, partisan bills. NAA continues to press key lawmakers and the Administration to provide robust emergency rental housing assistance and emphasize that extending the federal eviction moratorium is not the answer.
All indications are that this will be the last relief package of the year, so contact your members of Congress TODAY before it’s too late. Tell them to pass emergency rental assistance and oppose the eviction moratoriums!
As always, thank you for all that you do for the apartment industry.
Stay safe and healthy,
Robert Pinnegar, CAE
President and CEO