‚ÄčNational Apartment Association - Legislative Appeal

Letter to Congress - Appeal for Support to Landlords and Tenants

Mar 19, 2020

Dear Congress Members,

Thank you for the bipartisan work that has already been done by Congress to provide relief to American families and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. As a member of the apartment industry, I take seriously the responsibility to ensure our residents have a safe place to call home. Apartment operators and employees who rent from us are front-and-center in being affect by this crisis. This is a crisis that requiring we all "stay home."

Therefore, we urge Congress to enact the following proposals to help renters and housing providers:

  1. Direct, Sustained Assistance for Renters: COVID-19 will cause financial challenges for many renters. Congress should provide short-term financial assistance for renters, expand unemployment income for individuals who lose their job because of COVID-19 and exclude unemployment income from taxes for 2020.
  2. Forbearance on Multifamily Mortgages and other Financial Obligations: Most rental properties are owned by individuals and small businesses that must pay mortgages, utilities, payroll, insurance and taxes. If residents cannot pay their rent because of COVID-19, then owners are at risk of not meeting their obligations.
  3. Guardrails for Eviction Moratoria: We caution policymakers against blanket eviction moratoriums. However, if imposed, any federal moratorium on evictions should be targeted to COVID-19-related circumstances and include the following guardrails:
    1. A maximum 45-day time frame with a possible 45-day extension should the situation warrant it.
    2. No application to proceedings filed prior to or not a material result of COVID-19.
    3. Preserve the right of housing operators to evict for other lease violations such as property damage, criminal activity or endangering other community residents.
    4. Require residents to officially notify the property owner of temporary financial hardship as a result of COVID-19; request temporary assistance/relief; and acknowledge that contractual terms of the lease remain in effect.
  4. Critical Tax Relief for Individuals and Affected Industries to include:
    1. Payroll Tax Cut: Extra funds for taxpayers to absorb increased cuts resulting from COVID-19 by reduced payroll taxes.
    2. Unemployment Compensation Exclusion: Stretch unemployment income for individuals who experience job loss.
    3. Net Operating Loss Carryback: Ease cash-flow challenges for businesses by allowing net operating losses generated in 2020 to be carried back for three years.

The enormity of the challenge we face is constantly evolving. The proposals outlined here we hope can be a first step to protect the viability of the rental housing industry and the homes of 44 million American families that rent. Click here for link to National Apartment Association online letter submission.

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