July 24, 2020

Udall, Colleagues Urge Administration to Continue Housing Eviction Bans Due to Ongoing Coronavirus Pandemic

Senators: “having a roof over your head is essential for Americans’ abilities to stay safe and healthy”

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) joined a group of 26 Senate Democrats in urging the Trump Administration to continue to ban housing evictions for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic as COVID-19 continues to put many Americans in danger of falling behind on monthly rent payments. 

In a letter to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue, and Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mark Calabria, the senators wrote that an estimated 32 percent of renters were unable to make payments this month, and expressed concern that some tenants have still been unlawfully evicted during the pandemic despite a ban on evictions for renters in federally-subsidized housing. Homeless individuals continue to be one of the most at-risk groups for transmission of the coronavirus. Across the state of New Mexico, HUD has recorded an estimated 3,241 New Mexicans are experiencing homelessness.   

“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,” wrote the senators. “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 senators’ 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.” 

Udall also supports the HEROES Act passed by the House in May, which would replace the current 120-day moratorium enacted in the CARES Act for renters in federally assisted properties with a new 12-month moratorium on non-payment evictions from substantially all rental housing. Renters living in these properties may not be evicted for nonpayment of rent.

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

The senators’ full letter is available HERE.