President Trump issued an executive order over the weekend directing various federal agencies to identify ways to prevent evictions and foreclosures during the coronavirus pandemic – though the order itself did not provide those protections.
“My Administration, to the extent reasonably necessary to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, will take all lawful measures to prevent residential evictions and foreclosures resulting from financial hardships caused by COVID-19,” Trump wrote in the order.
Specifically, the order calls for the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Director of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to consider whether implementing a ban on evictions for failure to pay rent is “reasonably necessary to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 from one State or possession into any other State or possession.”
Additionally, the order directs:
The Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to “identify any and all available Federal funds to provide temporary financial assistance to renters and homeowners who, as a result of the financial hardships caused by COVID-19, are struggling to meet their monthly rental or mortgage obligations.”
The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to “take action, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, to promote the ability of renters and homeowners to avoid eviction or foreclosure resulting from financial hardships caused by COVID-19. Such action may include encouraging and providing assistance to public housing authorities, affordable housing owners, landlords, and recipients of Federal grant funds in minimizing evictions and foreclosures.”
The Director of FHFA to “review all existing authorities and resources that may be used to prevent evictions and foreclosures for renters and homeowners resulting from hardships caused by COVID-19.”
In an interview on Fox News Sunday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi criticized the order.
“While it has the illusion of saying we’re going to have a moratorium on evictions, it says I’m gonna ask the folks in charge to study if that’s feasible,” Pelosi said.
Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont Tweeted, “President Trump: stop being a phony. Your executive order on housing is a cruel joke. Your “eviction moratorium” won’t prevent one tenant from being evicted or provide one cent to pay the rent. 40 million Americans are in danger of being evicted. Stop lying. Cancel the rent now.”