Mass. Bill Would Promote ‘Equitable Housing Recovery’ Ahead of Looming Eviction Crisis

A bill currently working its way through the Massachusetts legislature would, if passed, institute an “equitable housing recovery” process in that state to fix what advocates say is a looming crisis of evictions after more than a year of the COVID-19 crisis. The bill would “prevent COVID-19 evictions and foreclosures and promote an equitable housing recovery,” in part by forbidding landlords from commencing evictions unless they had “exhausted all available opportunities, and worked in good faith, to obtain short-term emergency rental assistance” for their tenets. The advocacy group Homes for All Massachusetts hailed the bill as one that would “prevent displacement, ensure timely and equitable distribution of rental assistance, and promote racial and economic equity.” Massachusetts, like many states, has…

Amid Low Housing Stock, Are Millennial Homebuyers Driving the Shortage?

One possible explanation for the sharp decrease in housing stock throughout the U.S.? Demographics. Some analysts believe a wave of Millennial homebuyers are at least partially responsible for the severe housing crunch that has sent U.S. home prices skyrocketing and launched a seemingly endless frenzy in which buyers are competing in a cutthroat market for a dwindling supply of homes. Data indicate that Millennials form the largest share of current homebuyers: Older and younger members of that group make up nearly 40 percent of all homebuyers today, according to data from the National Association of Retailers. Millennials still make up the smallest share of U.S. homeowner demographics, but data from Apartment List show that, among major U.S. age groups, their…

Senator leads effort to repeal CDC’s eviction moratorium

A U.S. senator this week launched a long-shot effort to repeal the eviction moratorium put in place by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a gambit which comes amid the moratorium’s uncertain constitutional standing. Penn. Sen. Pat Toomey introduced the resolution in the Senate on Wednesday; if passed, it would order that the moratorium “shall have no force or effect” under U.S. law. Pursuant to the resolution, Toomey asked the Government Accountability Office to determine whether or not the CDC’s order formally counts as a “rule” under GAO regulations. “Though the CDC did not pursue notice and comment rulemaking, the eviction moratorium appears to be generally applicable, prospective in nature, and designed to interpret law,” Toomey wrote. It…

Some Courts Move to Prevent Housing Upheaval as Evictions Loom

Some courts throughout the U.S. are moving to forestall chaos by offering homeowners and renters some protection as the threat of evictions loom larger across the country. In New Mexico, the court system is setting rules to ease the potential crush of bill collectors and mortgage companies that may arise in the near future with the potential expiration of the federal eviction ban. The state’s Administrative Office of the Courts earlier this month “announced staggered deadlines for a return to debt collection orders that can be used to garnish wages or seize property to pay off commercial debts,” the Albuquerque Journal reports. Under the order, “money from standard and supplemental unemployment benefit payments will remain exempt from commercial debt collections,”…

Judge Suggests White House ‘Gamesmanship’ a Factor in Federal Eviction Ban

A federal judge this week suggested that “gamesmanship” may be a factor in the ongoing legal tussle between the federal government and U.S. landlords over Washington’s extended eviction ban. DC District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich this week considered a request by a coalition of landlords to put a stay on the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest nationwide ban on evictions. Friedrich suggested that there is “a degree of gamesmanship going on” with the CDC’s eviction ban, coming on the heels of the Supreme Court’s ruling that directed any future bans to come from Congress, not the executive branch. The judge nevertheless indicated that she may let the current moratorium stand given earlier rulings permitting the last ban…

Federal HUD Announces Millions in Grants for Senior ‘Age-in-Place’ Housing Program

The federal government is deploying millions of dollars to help older Americans make repairs and modifications to their homes as part of a targeted “age-in-place” initiative. The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded “$30 million to 32 nonprofit organizations, state and local governments, and public housing authorities to assist in undertaking comprehensive programs that make safety and functional home modifications and limited repairs to meet the needs of low-income elderly homeowners that allow them to age in place,” the agency said in a press release. The initiative, administered through the department’s Older Adults Home Modification Program, will facilitate “low-cost home modifications” that “reduce the risk of falling” for older Americans. The project will “improve their general safety,…

Washington Post: New Biden Eviction Ban ‘Almost Certainly Illegal’

The editorial board of the Washington Post this week bluntly stated that the most recent eviction moratorium issued by the Biden administration is essentially guaranteed to be struck down by the Supreme Court. The Biden CDC issued the new ban this week after the prior version expired on July 31. This week’s moratorium comes after the Supreme Court in June ruled that any additional moratoriums would have to come from Congress, not the executive branch. On Thursday, the Washington Post’s editorial board conceded that, in light of that ruling, Biden’s new order was “almost certainly illegal.” “Under pressure from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi … and progressive Democrats, President Biden and the CDC may have muted accusations that they failed to…

Realtors Ask Court to Block CDC’s Extended Eviction Moratorium

An association of realtors on Wednesday asked a U.S. district court to halt the enforcement of the extended eviction moratorium put in place by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week. The NAR said in a Wednesday press release that it had assisted realtors in Alabama and Georgia in filing “an emergency motion Wednesday night with Judge Dabney Friedrich of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, asking her to enforce the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent order that the CDC could not extend the moratorium without new legislation.” The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the CDC could not extend its moratorium past July 31 without “clear and specific congressional authorization.” President Joe Biden has…

White House Extends Limited Eviction Ban in Areas With ‘High’ COVID Transmission

The Biden administration this week extended the eviction moratorium in areas that it deems have “high” SARS-Cov-2 transmission, a targeted measure the White House is putting forth after the expiration of the broader mandate at the end of last month. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Tuesday that the order “applies in United States counties experiencing substantial and high levels of community transmission levels of SARS-CoV-2.” It is set to expire on Oct. 3. “The emergence of the delta variant has led to a rapid acceleration of community transmission in the United States, putting more Americans at increased risk, especially if they are unvaccinated,” CDC Director Rochelle Wallensky said in the release. “This moratorium is the…

FHFA Extends Limited Eviction Moratorium on Fannie & Freddie Acquisitions

The Federal Housing Finance Agency has extended a limited eviction moratorium on properties owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, pushing the lapse of that ban back another two months. The FHFA said in a press release that it was extending the moratorium on “single-family real estate owned” properties, specifically ones that “have been acquired by [Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac] through foreclosure or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure transactions.” “The pandemic continues to have an outsized impact on the ability of Americans to meet their monthly rent or mortgage payments,” Acting FHFA Director Sandra Thompson said in the release. “Today’s extension of the eviction moratorium protects particularly vulnerable Americans who otherwise would be at risk of losing a place to live.”…