Rent and mortgage payments to be cancelled under Ilhan Omar’s reintroduced bill

The Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act, which looks to cancel rent and mortgage payments throughout the duration of the coronavirus pandemic, has been reintroduced to Congress by Representative Ilhan Omar.

Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

The Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act, which looks to cancel rent and mortgage payments throughout the duration of the coronavirus pandemic, has been reintroduced to Congress by Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN).

According to the official text, the bill would cancel mortgage and rent payments nationwide that may have been accumulating under the current eviction moratorium with no negative impact to credit scores or rental histories.

It would also set aside a relief fund to cover landlord and mortgage holder lost payments due to cancellation, and would try to increase affordable public housing by "creating an optional buyout fund to fully finance the purchase of private rental properties by non-profits, public housing authorities, cooperatives, community land trusts, and states or local governments," the press release stated.

"While the American Rescue Plan extends the national rent moratorium—this is not a longterm solution. People across this country will be forced to pay tens of thousands of dollars in back rent when it ends," said Omar.

The co-sponsors for this bill are Reps. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), Cori Bush (D-MO), André Carson (D-ID), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ), Jesús G. "Chuy" García (D-IL), Mondaire Jones (D-NY), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Bennie G. Thompson (D-MI), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC non voting rep.), Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Frederica S. Wilson (D-Fl), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), James P. McGovern (D-MA), Jimmy Gomez (D-CA), and Jerrold Nadler (D-NY).

"At a devastating moment in which 40 million Americans are struggling to keep a roof over their heads and more than eight million people have been pushed into poverty, the federal government needs to step up and provide relief for renters while also ensuring that small mom and pop landlords who rely on rental income for survival aren’t left behind," said Jayapal.

"With millions unemployed due to the public health emergency, we’re on the precipice of an eviction crisis," said co-sponsor Grijalva. "Canceling rent and mortgage payments would help our most vulnerable and ensure that those who’ve lost so much during the pandemic don’t lose their homes once the eviction moratorium ends. I’m proud to join Rep. Omar’s efforts to keep people in their homes."

The bill was originally introduced by Omar as the stay-at-home order began last year, but didn’t pass due to a Republican controlled senate.

It is currently unclear just how much this bill would cost. In research posted last year, the National Low Income Housing Coalition stated "We estimate the cost to assist extremely and very low-income households who are severely cost-burdened renters to be $76.1 billion over twelve months. Extending rental assistance to cover all current and projected housing cost-burdened extremely and very low-income renters would cost approximately $99.5 billion."


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