U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-1st) introduced legislation last week that would further defer mortgage payments and encourage landlords to provide rent relief to tenants.
There are two main initiatives in the bill, H.R. 6492. The first would allow homeowners whose mortgage payments have been deferred to make those payments later, at the end of the loan term.
The second would create a “Tenant Protection Program,” in which the Department of Housing and Urban Development could make low-interest loans to landlords who waive rents for tenants during the pandemic. (The loans could not be for more than half of the landlord’s expected income from rent.) Those loans would be forgiven if the landlord agrees not to evict tenants for two months after the federal government declares the end of the coronavirus-related emergency period.
"The expectation that the average American – let alone any American who is currently unemployed as a result of COVID-19 – could immediately pay back 3 months of mortgage payments at the drop of a hat is a complete delusion," said Rush in a statement. "This bill is a commonsense approach to the predicament that many homeowners find themselves in as a result of the coronavirus and would also protect renters who are unable to pay their rent during these uncertain times."
Another bill, introduced a few days after Rush’s by Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, would suspend all rent and mortgage payments for the duration of the pandemic. Both bills have been referred to committee.