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HUD Issues New Protections for Tenants Facing COVID-Related Eviction

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has published a rule that prohibits the eviction of tenants facing action for non-payment of rent from HUD-subsidized public housing and certain properties with project-based rental assistance, without providing a 30-day notice period that includes information about available federal emergency rental assistance.

HUD’s latest action reaffirms HUD’s commitment to keeping people housed throughout the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic through the prevention of unnecessary evictions. The Biden-Harris Administration continues to work to rush aid to renters and landlords, and ensure that available support quickly reaches families in need and most at-risk of eviction.

The interim rule, which will be published in the Federal Register on Thursday, October 7, provides that when there is a national emergency—such as the COVID-19 pandemic—and federal money is allocated to help tenants facing eviction for nonpayment of rent, the HUD Secretary can:

  • Expand the notice a covered landlord must give before such a tenant must vacate a unit from 14 days to 30 days;
  • Require landlords to provide information to the tenant regarding federal emergency rental relief along with the eviction notice; and
  • Require landlords to provide notice to all tenants in public housing of the availability of emergency rental assistance.

HUD is also publishing notices that invoke this new rule’s authority and require the provision of information regarding the Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

“For many months, our Department has worked with landlords and owners who do business with HUD to ensure they access the Emergency Rental Assistance Program and do everything they can to keep people housed,” said HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “This rule is a significant step in raising tenant awareness about the availability of funds that can assist them with past due rent and allowing them additional time to access relief that may stave off eviction entirely. HUD will continue to review additional actions to help protect individuals through the duration of the pandemic.”

This new rule builds on the work HUD is doing to ensure available support is reaching the families the Department serves. HUD has also taken the following actions to prevent evictions and inform communities of their responsibilities and rights:

  • Streamlined requirements to allow HUD-assisted households to quickly recertify their income if they have experienced a drop in income, ensuring that their housing remains stable;
  • Released extensive eviction prevention resources for public housing authorities, Tribes, and Tribally-Designated Housing Entities that highlight best practices to keep families housed and answer frequently asked questions;
  • Issued guidance through HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity to protect against selective evictions aimed at protected classes, such as race and national origin in violation of the Fair Housing Act. This guidance also explains that the Act requires housing providers to make reasonable accommodations for tenants with disabilities, including exceptions or modifications to eviction policies and procedures that may be necessary because of tenants’ disabilities. HUD allocated $19.4 million to provide support to fair housing enforcement organizations to respond to fair housing inquiries and complaints related to the pandemic;
  • Released an inaugural Eviction Protection Grant Program that will fund $20 million for eviction protection and diversion services for low-income tenants at risk of or subject to eviction; and
  • Supported HUD grantees and stakeholders to ensure the best use of the various relief resources, including the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, and HUD’s various Native American housing programs to prevent evictions and homelessness.

About Author: Eric C. Peck

Eric C. Peck has 20-plus years’ experience covering the mortgage industry, he most recently served as Editor-in-Chief for The Mortgage Press and National Mortgage Professional Magazine. Peck graduated from the New York Institute of Technology where he received his B.A. in Communication Arts/Media. After graduating, he began his professional career with Videography Magazine before landing in the mortgage space. Peck has edited three published books and has served as Copy Editor for Entrepreneur.com.

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