Omar introduces legislation to cancel rent, mortgage payments during pandemic

Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarMinority caucuses call for quick action on police reform Amash readying legislation allowing victims to sue officers Democrats call for Congress to take action following death of George Floyd MORE (D-Minn.) has introduced legislation to cancel rent and mortgage payments nationwide amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

Omar’s bill would establish a relief fund for landlords and mortgage holders to cover losses from the canceled payments. 

Under the proposal unveiled Friday, rent and mortgage payment cancellations would be available for Americans regardless of income. There also would be no debt accumulation for renters and homeowners as well as no negative impact on their credit ratings or rental histories.

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The bill also seeks to create an optional fund to fully finance the purchase of private rental properties by nonprofits, public housing authorities, cooperatives, community land trusts, and state or local governments in an effort to increase the availability of affordable housing. 

Omar’s bill proposes the moratorium on payments to last one calendar month after the end of the national emergency, which was declared in March. The bill also calls for the suspension to retroactively cover payments made in April.  

Landlords or mortgage holders who take action against tenants or property owners would be subject to fines starting at $5,000 for first violations and up to $50,000 for third or subsequent violations. 

“The coronavirus crisis is more than just a public health crisis—it’s an economic crisis,” Omar said in a statement

“Congress has a responsibility to step in to stabilize both local communities and the housing market during this time of uncertainty and crisis. In 2008, we bailed out Wall Street. This time, it’s time to bail out the American people who are suffering,” she added.

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