Democrats and the White House Were Nearing an Agreement on Renter, Homeowner Assistance. Then Trump Tweeted.

“House Democrats passed a $2.2 trillion HEROES Act, which includes $50 billion for emergency rental assistance, and $21 billion in funding for states and territories to spend assisting homeowners.

Of that $50 billion in rental assistance, at least 40 percent would have to go to tenants making 30 percent or less of their area’s median income, and 70 percent of it would have to be spent on those making less than half their area’s median income. Tenants making up to 120 percent of area median income would be eligible for assistance.

These income restrictions are identical to those found in the enlarged $3.5 trillion HEROES Act back in May, which earmarked $175 billion to renter and homeowner assistance. The $71 billion in renter and homeowner assistance proposed by Democrats now is still too rich for many congressional Republicans but is much closer to the $60 billion that Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the White House could accept.”

“Eviction filings are below historic averages in 15 of 17 cities tracked by Princeton University’s Eviction Lab. Places like Boston and Austin—both of which have local eviction moratoriums in addition to the CDC’s policy—have seen evictions drop close to zero. The two exceptions are Columbus, Ohio, and Richmond, Virginia, where evictions are above historic averages by 48 and 300 percent respectively.

With eviction rates below historic averages in most cities and rental payment rates staying pretty steady throughout the pandemic, a massive new federal program to bail out tenants and rental property owners seems excessive.

That’s particularly true when most of the stimulus proposals on offer include expanded unemployment benefits and another round of $1,200 stimulus payments. Renters report using those types of benefits, which were included in the March coronavirus relief bill, to cover their housing costs earlier in the pandemic.

Whether the mercurial Trump will stick to his decision to walk away from stimulus talks remains to be seen. After tweeting that he was done negotiating, the president again took to Twitter to urge the passage of a bailout for the airlines and another round of stimulus checks.

It’s possible renters and homeowners will also benefit from Trump’s backtracking. If they don’t, they’ll have to wait until 2021 for more help from the feds.”

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