By Staci Caplan
Santa Barbara Association of REALTORS®
Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declared a “temporary halt to residential evictions to prevent the further spread of COVID-19,” which applies to all residential housing. This moratorium ends on December 31, 2020. This may seem helpful to renters in the short-term. But this notice does not relieve residents from their rent obligations, and landlords may charge late fees, penalties, and interest on missed rental payments.
Right now, housing markets are strong. But a lack of rental assistance jeopardizes the entire real estate market. The eviction crisis that will occur at the end of this eviction moratorium will be significant. The current eviction moratorium will leave both housing providers and renters struggling, and will have a devastating impact on our national economy.
More than 40% of rental units across the nation are owned by ‘mom & pop’ owners who will struggle to keep up with their financial obligations. Additionally, 37% of rental units are categorized as LLC/LP/LLP, many of which are operated by individuals who will also be negatively impacted. Many of these owners rely on their rental income to cover their own necessities, including housing, food and medical needs.
During the moratorium, property owners will struggle to make their obligations – including mortgage payments, insurance, taxes, property maintenance, utilities and staff. When the moratorium expires, renters will struggle to make up massive amounts of back rent (which could amount to over a years’ worth of rent). This will turn this pandemic into a significant housing crisis come 2021.
That is why The National Association of REALTORS®, along with coalition partners, are asking Congress to make rental assistance necessary for renters AND housing providers. Congress must enact an emergency rental assistance program that addresses the challenges for housing providers and renters alike. The House-passed HEROES Act did include rental assistance, but it was not sufficient enough to cover the number of renters covered by the CDC notice. All renters who are eligible and attest to their need for the eviction moratorium must be covered. Payments should be made directly to housing providers who provide housing authorities with copies of their residents’ attestations.
More action is coming on this issue as REALTORS® fight to protect our nation’s more than 48 million rental units and their property owners.
Staci Caplan is a California Real Estate Broker and the owner of Pacific Crest Realty. She was born and raised in Santa Barbara and her passion for this special region translates into successful real estate transactions and thrilled clients. At our local Santa Barbara Associations of REALTORS ® , Staci has served on the Board of Directors, the Government Relations Committee, the Budget and Finance Committee, the Multiple Listing Committee, and the REALTOR ® Action Fund Committee. She can be reached at (805) 886-3970 or email@example.com.