The Cities Implementing Local Eviction Bans
Cities and counties across the country are enacting local eviction moratoriums after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a national eviction ban in areas that were severely affected by COVID-19.
Boston announced a moratorium on evictions on Tuesday, NBC 10 Boston reports. The city will also set up a $5 million Foreclosure Prevention Fund. The Boston Globe reports that the moratorium is in place indefinitely until the executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission decides to rescind it.
Elsewhere, New York has implemented an eviction ban; legislators tweaked the moratorium so that landlords can challenge a tenant’s claim of economic hardship. Landlords had previously said that tenants were using economic hardship claims to “game the system” and avoid paying rent even when they had the ability to do so. Real estate publication The Real Deal reports that the new moratorium is still unlikely to survive a legal challenge; however, it may be long enough for more rental assistance to trickle down.
Other areas are considering implementing moratoriums, as well, although they are likely to face legal challenges as well.
For instance, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that while St. Louis County Council seemed to have enough votes to pass a countywide moratorium; it was held back at the request of Republican Councilmen Tim Fitch and Mark Harder, who questioned a moratorium’s legality. A citywide ordinance in St. Louis proper is also on the table, but the St. Louis Board of Aldermen is on recess for the next two weeks.
White House Plans to Build 100K Affordable Homes
While the country has been recuperating slowly 一 the percentage of tenants behind on rent fell from 19.4 to 15.4% 一 there were still 11 million families using more than half of their income on rent prior to the pandemic. The country has an estimated shortage of 4 million affordable housing units, Reuters said.
The Biden-Harris administration has called for investments in affordable housing through the Build Back Better Agenda, but is taking additional action now to help stabilize families. Homeownership is the main priority as houses will mainly be sold to working and middle class families, and non-profit organizations as opposed to large investors, who obtained one in six homes sold in the second quarter of 2021.
A lot of the White House’s plan relies on tweaks to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two government-sponsored enterprises or GSEs that support a majority of residential mortgages in the market every year.
Some are loan criteria tweaks intended to reverse changes made under the Trump administration that disproportionately affected Black and brown homebuyers — for example, reversing changes made in 2020 that reduced the volume of Fannie and Freddie financing for 2-4 unit homes. Others are tweaks to Fannie and Freddie’s lines of business, such as nearly doubling each agency’s capacity to make direct investments into affordable housing projects financed via federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits.
Additional plans include collaboration with state and local governments to reduce exclusionary zoning, as well as the relaunching of the Federal Financing Bank and HUD Risk Sharing Program. Section 542 allows HUD to enter into partnerships with state housing finance agencies that lower the cost of financing new affordable housing projects by supplying the capital directly from the federal government instead of borrowing from private investors. Created during the last financial crisis, the program has provided more than $12.6 billion in financing for more than 193,490 affordable rental homes in 38 states, according to the National Council of State Housing Agencies.
North Carolina Gov Votes to Protects Hotel Tenants
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has vetoed a bill that would have allowed hotels to remove temporary tenants, The Dispatch reports.
Next City previously covered this proposal when it was first under consideration in July, as hotel owners argued that they had difficulty removing ‘improper guests’ from the premises. The bill considered calling people who have been living in a hotel for less than 90 days “transient occupants” instead of tenants, allowing innkeepers to remove them without due process.
But critics argued that hotel owners could already work with the police to remove guests, and this bill would only serve to further harm people who are living in a hotel or motel as a last resort.
“This legislation is not the right way to ensure safety in hotels,” Cooper said in a press release. “It removes legal protections and allows unnecessary harm to vulnerable people, including families with children, who have turned to hotels and motels for housing in a time of need.”
Additional reporting by senior economics correspondent Oscar Perry Abello.
This article is part of Backyard, a newsletter exploring scalable solutions to make housing fairer, more affordable and more environmentally sustainable. Subscribe to our weekly Backyard newsletter.
Solcyre (Sol) Burga was an Emma Bowen Foundation Fellow with Next City for summer 2021. Burga is completing her degree in political science and journalism at Rutgers University, with plans to graduate in May of 2022. As a Newark native and immigrant, she hopes to elevate voices of underrepresented communities in her work.