Cities such as New York and Los Angeles passed regulations banning tenant eviction last week, and dozens of local authorities and courts followed suit. The San Francisco sheriff has announced he will not enforce eviction orders until a new release. On Wednesday, Washington State, one of those severely affected by the virus, announced a 30-day eviction delay.
On Wednesday, the Trump administration announced that the Office of Housing and Urban Development will suspend foreclosures and evictions of homeowners receiving mortgages insured by the federal housing director. That’s more than 8 million apartments. The federal housing finance agency also ordered two mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to stop foreclosure and eviction of debtors. However, the two agencies did not provide relief to tenants in condominiums with the same mortgages.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Housing Minister Ben Carson called on public housing agencies to prevent eviction of tenants who lost revenue because of the corona, but the office needs congressional approval to force such a move.
The House of Representatives and the Senate have some proposals to help tenants, but none of them are included in the emergency spending laws already passed in Congress. In areas particularly affected by Corona, the evacuation of people to the street will have direct public health implications.
“We are at the federal level and are trying to address very local dynamics,” said Yvette Clark, a New York Democratic House Democrat who is among the lawmakers working to increase public housing allocation.
Some cities have suspended the evacuation until a new announcement, but other cities have been content with a few weeks postponement, which raises concerns about what will happen on the next April rent payment. In Detroit, evictions have been temporarily suspended, but there are hundreds of cases of tenants not currently working, Phillips said.
As the sudden economic recession threatens more and more households, lawyers who provide legal aid to the underprivileged are also harmed, including poor renters facing eviction or foreclosure of their apartments. Some legal aid organizations have reduced the acceptance of the new cases because of the social remoteness provisions, which limit the ability to assist tenants. “We’re trying to find a way to continue functioning without seeing people, which is a little difficult,” said Ted Phillips, executive director of the United Community Housing Coalition in Detroit.