July 22, 2020

Senator Warren Joins Colleagues in Urging the Trump Administration to Enforce Housing Eviction Bans During Coronavirus Pandemic

Washington, D.C. - United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) joined Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Doug Jones (D-Ala.) in a letter to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, and Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mark Calabria urging the agencies to enforce bans on housing evictions for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic. 


The CARES Act includes a federal eviction moratorium, but renters face serious barriers to understanding if they are covered and a recent oversight hearing by the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs with federal housing regulators revealed that, since April, communities in several states have allowed landlords to move forward with eviction proceedings, despite the mandated temporary protections for renters the CARES Act established. In the letter, the senators request that the agencies use every tool at their disposal to help renters understand their protections in the CARES Act, including creating a toll-free hotline for renters to ask questions about their protections. 


“As you know, the CARES Act created temporary protections from eviction for millions of tenants who live in properties with federally-backed mortgages or that receive certain types of federal housing assistance,” the senators wrote. “During a time when having a roof over your head is essential for Americans’ abilities to stay safe and healthy, Congress insisted that these safeguards be put in place to help those at risk of losing their housing in the midst of the public health and economic crises. These protections, as well as all tenant protections available under federal, state, and local law, must be honored and enforced.”


“During this pandemic, when it is dangerous for individuals to even be required to appear in a court room, it is troubling that some renters have been unlawfully removed from their homes in violation of the clear protections of the CARES Act,” the letter continues. “As evictions continue to rise, more must be done to ensure these protections are adhered to and any violations are immediately addressed, otherwise the repercussions will be severely felt by millions of the most vulnerable Americans, including elderly and low-income renters and many essential workers.”


Along with Senators Warren, Tester, and Jones, the letter was signed by Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Brian Schatz (D-Hawai’i), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nevada),Jack Reed (D-R.I), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawai’i), Tom Carper (D-Del.), and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).


Senator Warren has made it a priority to ensure families and individuals have access to stable housing amid the COVID-19 pandemic. She is the Senate sponsor of the Protecting Renters from Evictions and Fees Act of 2020 to extend and expand the eviction moratorium for renters to March 27, 2021. She is also a cosponsor of the Emergency Rental Assistance and Rental Market Stabilization Act of 2020, legislation that would authorize $100 billion for an emergency rental assistance program to help renters stay housed during and after the pandemic. Senator Warren has also introduced legislation to protect individuals experiencing homelessness during the pandemic by providing $11.5 billion in the next COVID-19 relief package for states and localities to provide emergency shelter and services and is a cosponsor of legislation to put a moratorium on utility shut-offs.