U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) introduced a bill that seeks to protect renters who could face eviction when the national eviction moratorium expires this month.
The bill, the Renter Protection Act, would consolidate the COVID-related Emergency Rental Assistance programs and quickly disburse the aid to the people for which it is intended.
“As the federal eviction moratorium comes to an end, Committee Republicans are taking action to protect American families from losing their homes,” McHenry, ranking member on the House Financial Services Committee, said. “Our legislation will end the Biden Administration’s gross mismanagement of the emergency rental assistance, get the money out the door quickly, and make sure that all $46 billion is used to repay back-rent debts. While Democrats are preoccupied with advancing their partisan agenda, Republicans know that COVID-impacted renters can no longer wait for the assistance Congress voted to provide them. The Renter Protection Act is a commonsense solution to address this avoidable crisis now before it’s too late.”
The Renter Protection Act of 2021 would consolidate the two Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) programs and transfer all remaining March 2021 ERA program funds. Cities and states with any unused ERA money after July 1st would be required to use those funds exclusively to pay off the back-rent debts of COVID-impacted eligible households, as Congress originally intended. Further, it reinstates the original December 31, 2021, deadline for cities and states to distribute all ERA funds to COVID-impacted eligible households to immediately benefit individuals with back-rent due to the pandemic.
These reforms will ensure that the $46.55 billion in Emergency Rental Assistance money is used to pay off any outstanding back rent and remove the threat of eviction from COVID-impacted renters.
In addition, McHenry sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office, urging them to audit the emergency rental assistance programs. This will help Congress better understand what changes may be necessary to ensure relief reaches American families facing hardship.