President Donald Trump has quashed hopes for a new federal stimulus package before the presidential election in November. And that could leave America’s renters and landlords in a lurch.
Tuesday afternoon, Trump initially said that he had instructed his team to stop negotiating with Democrats until after the election. He then later suggested he would be open to approving elements of the stimulus package individually, including another round of $1,200 stimulus checks to individual Americans and relief for airlines, by using leftover funds from the CARES Act passed this spring to pay for them.
A second stimulus package could provide a crucial lifeline for renters and some landlords. As the coronavirus pandemic has upended the nation’s economy, so too has it disrupted the country’s rental housing market. Months of layoffs and furloughs have left millions of Americans unable to afford to pay their rent. Landlords, meanwhile, have been forced to shoulder property tax and mortgage payments in the interim.
All told, some 30 to 40 million Americans face the threat of eviction as a result of the pandemic. Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention took historic action by issuing a nationwide moratorium on evictions. Public-health experts worried that if millions of people were kicked out of their homes, it could exacerbate the spread of COVID-19 and complicate efforts to reduce transmission.
The CDC’s moratorium didn’t automatically provide protection to tenants. Instead, renters have to proactively notify their landlords that they cannot be evicted under the order by meeting certain specifications. Gaps in the way the moratorium was designed have led to thousands of renters facing eviction hearings.
When the CDC’s order was announced, housing experts said it was merely “slowing the clock on evictions.” That’s because moratorium did not come with funding for