President Donald Trump on Saturday signed an executive order he said would protect Americans from eviction, along with other items.
While some housing experts and advocates are grateful for the effort, others say the White House could do more.
President Trump stepped in due to a deadlock among lawmakers charged with drawing up a COVID-related stimulus relief bill. This week, housing advocates weighed in on Trump's "Executive Order on Fighting the Spread of COVID-19 by Providing Assistance to Renters and Homeowners."
David Dworkin, President and CEO of the National Housing Conference (NHC), and Maxine Waters, Congresswoman (D-California) and House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman, each published letters this week analyzing Trump’s latest order.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) also commented on the executive order by way of a statement from NAR President Vince Malta—he expressed gratitude for the president’s effort to help struggling homeowners but also concern that the order may not go far enough.
"While NAR appreciates and is supportive of White House efforts to ensure struggling Americans can remain in their homes, we are disappointed in the administration's decision to not tie an eviction moratorium with rental assistance—as they must be," said Malta, a Broker at Malta & Co., Inc., in San Francisco.
"We now strongly urge the administration and Congress to a come to swift, bipartisan resolution that protects both renters and housing providers."
Upon signing the order, Trump said, “I am protecting people from eviction.”
Both Dworkin and Waters remained critical of the order, however, because it does not extend the eviction moratorium that expired at the end of last month.
A different federal eviction moratorium is still in place, but it is set to end on August 31. That one, imposed by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, pauses foreclosures and evictions for single-family homes that have mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
The executive order calls on the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to “consider” whether an additional eviction ban is needed.
Waters, who called the order “misleading,” added that the order does not provide any new federal funding to help households struggling to afford housing costs.
Dworkin says Trump’s executive order on evictions “is not enough to forestall an eviction crisis.”
A lengthy moratorium, as some have sought, also would not be a good long-term solution, Dworkin added, because it ultimately hurts landlords and puts borrowers and renters into deep debt.
“If mass evictions are bad this month, they are just as bad next month,” he said. “Ultimately, only comprehensive federal rental assistance can resolve an eviction crisis.”