Rep. Ilhan Omar Reintroduces Rent And Mortgage Cancellation Act

On Thursday, Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota reintroduced a bill to cancel rent and mortgage payments until 2022, citing the lingering coronavirus pandemic as reason for the piece of legislation.

press release from Omar’s office said the bill would “institute a nationwide cancellation of rents and home mortgage payments through the duration of the coronavirus pandemic.” It would set up “full payment forgiveness,” and would not result in financial debt for renters or homeowners. It also states that it would not have a negative effect on the credit rating or rental history of renters and homeowners.The legislation would reportedly “establish a relief fund” for mortgage holders and landlords in order to make up for any financial deprivation they would suffer because of the canceled payments from their tenants. In addition to the relief money, the bill would also make a voluntary “buyout fund” that would finance in full “the purchase of private rental properties by non-profits, public housing authorities, cooperatives, community land trusts, and states or local governments—in order to increase the availability of affordable housing during this downturn.”

Relieving homeowners and renters of housing payments has been a priority for Omar. Originally, the congresswoman introduced the legislation in April of last year. In December 2020, she began discussing it again and garnering support for the concept as coronavirus case numbers were peaking in the United States. When it was first introduced in April, it did not receive a vote as Republicans still had control of the Senate.

When Omar discussed the bill on Thursday, she noted that while housing opportunity was a problem before the pandemic, the struggles of the past year have made it worse. She acknowledged that the current $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package “extends the national rent moratorium,” but added that it is “not a long-term solution.”

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