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14th May 2022

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The National Association of REALTORS® was an industry and national leader in the push to secure rental assistance funding when the pandemic began last March. The association—and the industry—scored a major victory when nearly $50 billion in funding was appropriated over two separate federal laws passed this winter, but slow disbursement of these funds continues to put a strain on both tenants and property owners.

Recognizing the potential impact on renters and the broader housing market if small housing providers are put out of business, NAR has supported state and local REALTOR® groups that challenge the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s federal eviction moratorium.

In a case heard before the D.C. District Court on Thursday, state associations in Alabama and Georgia, along with two housing providers, argued administrative overreach by the government where the broad eviction moratorium is regulating the economy beyond the CDC’s statutory public health authority. This case follows on the heels of several other recent cases that have held the CDC’s actions were unlawful, but where relief was only afforded to the individual parties in the lawsuit. The plaintiffs in this case are seeking relief for housing providers across the country who have been struggling for more than a year to meet their own financial obligations without a stream of income while logjams in emergency rental assistance continue in many states.

“No business can survive while forgoing steady income for a year,” NAR President Charlie Oppler said Thursday. “If mom-and-pop property owners are put in a position where they can no longer sustain their small businesses, every tenant living there would be left without a proper home. As was discussed at today’s hearing, broad eviction moratoriums no longer serve the very necessary purpose they once did, and their continued enforcement will only jeopardize the long-term health of America’s housing market.”

Despite its push to both fund and streamline program management, NAR has argued that slow disbursement of rental assistance dollars continues to impose long-term risk and strain on both tenants and property owners. “With the economy slowly regaining its strength, NAR is urging federal policymakers to take any steps possible to restore economic stability and normalcy in this country,” Oppler said.

While NAR has been successful in ensuring some rental assistance was provided directly to property owners, the association acknowledges the task is complicated by administration challenges at the state level. The lawsuit contends that the CDC’s ongoing nationwide eviction moratorium constitutes government overreach on rights of property owners and is not narrowly tailored to address the specific public health harm.

“This a complex, layered situation in which real human lives are impacted, and it is important that temporary protections remain in place for Americans who bear the worst economic burdens of this pandemic but should not endure without necessity and balance,” Oppler said. “The long-term health of our nation’s housing market remains NAR’s primary focus—a goal which will protect both tenants and housing providers long after this pandemic has ended and in the decades that follow.”

Finally, NAR is part of a large coalition of housing industry groups advocating for housing providers who have been negatively impacted by the eviction moratorium due to loss of rent payments and to minimize the detrimental impact on the housing market. The group continues to search for ways to insulate tenants and housing providers from further financial unrest while keeping shelter over tenants’ heads, certainty in providers’ businesses, and stability in the nation’s rental housing market.

By admin