As the economic damage caused by the COVID-19 outbreak continues to spread, NAHB is leading the charge in calling on Congress to provide rental assistance to the nation's renters and housing providers. Emergency rental assistance will keep tenants in their homes and ensure the financial viability and stability of the rental housing industry.
More than 54 million Americans have filed initial claims for unemployment since the beginning of the pandemic, and many are struggling to pay everyday expenses — chief among them, rent. As the pandemic drags on, the country's 109 million renters are expected to be disproportionately impacted because they are more likely to work in industries hardest hit by layoffs.
NAHB is calling on Congress to help tenants and small business property owners weather the financial effects of this pandemic. NAHB is urging lawmakers to:
- Create an emergency rental assistance program
- Avoid blanket extensions of eviction moratoriums
- Extend financial mitigation and mortgage forbearance protections
- Expand the Small Business Administration's (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to include all multifamily businesses
If residents are unable to pay their rent, housing providers will also be unable to pay their mortgage, property taxes, employees and cleaning/maintenance services as well as meet other financial obligations.
A prolonged eviction moratorium will exacerbate these issues, as renters struggle to repay back rent payments and are put at risk of housing security long after financial aid is gone. Affordability for rental housing was already a concern prior to the current crisis, with 11 million renters spending more than half of their income on housing, according to the Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies' "America's Rental Housing 2020" report. The burden is felt more acutely among lower-income renters, with 72% of those earning $15,000 or less and 43% of those earning $15,000-$29,999 severely rent burdened.
NAHB is asking members to reach out to your Senators to ensure rental assistance, and not an expanded eviction moratorium, is the priority for rental housing in the next COVID-19 package.
For more COVID-19 resources, visit nahb.org.