Senator Elizabeth Warren on Monday introduced a bill that would extend a nationwide eviction moratorium as the current eviction protections in response to the coronavirus pandemic near expiration.
“Renters who have lost their job or had their income reduced shouldn’t have to fear losing their homes in the middle of a pandemic,” Warren said in a statement announcing the bill. “Housing is a human right and an absolute necessity to keep families safe during this crisis, and Congress must step in now to help keep people in their homes.”
The Massachusetts Democrat’s bill, the Protecting Renters from Evictions and Fees Act, would extend eviction protections until March 27 of next year and would apply to nearly all renters and landlords. The measure would also prohibit fees, fines, and extra charges due to non-payment of rent and require landlords to give tenants a 30-day eviction notice after the moratorium expires.
The bill extends and expands the current 120-day eviction moratorium that was included in the $2.2 trillion CARES Act, a massive spending package intended to buoy the flagging economy amid the pandemic. Those eviction protections are set to expire on July 25 and applied to only renters in federally assisted housing.
An even larger $3 trillion coronavirus stimulus package, the HEROES Act, which passed the House but has stalled in the Senate, includes an eviction moratorium similar to the one in Warren’s bill.
Warren is introducing the legislation in tandem with Representatives Jesús García, an Illinois Democrat, and Barbara Lee, a California Democrat, who are introducing a similar measure in the House.
“My district consists principally of immigrant and working class communities, and more than half of my constituents are renters,” Garcia told Vox. “As our country faces historic levels of unemployment and with another first of the month around the corner, people in my district are hurting — the last thing they should worry about is having a roof over their head.”
Warren’s bill comes as low-income renters in many states struggle to pay rent on time after months of layoffs and reduced income due to business closures during the lockdown and stay-at-home orders.