Biden’s administration is trying prevent evictions of public housing units for nonpayment of rent. This is to strengthen protections after the expiration of the nationwide eviction moratorium.
A new rule by the Department of Housing and Urban Development states that tenants living in HUD-subsidized public accommodation cannot be evicted due to nonpayment unless they are given 30 days notice and information about federal emergency rental assistance. The Federal Register will publish the rule on Thursday.
Although technically the rule would take effect 30 days after publication, a senior HUD official said that the rule would be in effect immediately and that all public housing authorities across the country should comply. According to the official, who spoke under anonymity and was not authorized to speak publicly, the rule was changed due to concern over a rising wave of evictions, as cases move through the courts.
Marcia Fudge, HUD Secretary, said Wednesday that the change was “a significant step to raise tenant awareness about the existence of funds that can help them with past rent and allow them additional time access relief that might prevent eviction altogether.”
The new rule does not contain new elements. The original COVID-19 relief package included a 30-day notice requirement. The change will include specific guidance for housing officials on how to direct tenants towards the available billions in emergency rental assistance. This is also intended to allow those funds more time to get through the system.
The rule change will also apply to residents of public housing. This is a program in which private property owners, whether for-profit or not, enter into contracts with HUD to provide affordable housing units. HUD estimates that the new rule will affect 4.1 million people.
Biden administration officials complained that the state and local bureaucracy have entrapped the rental relief funds. According to a senior HUD official, dispersal of funds has been a bit slower than officials expected.
In response to the coronavirus pandemic in August, Congress ended the federal moratorium. The federal government is now focusing on funding rental assistance programs and the nationwide moratorium has become a patchwork, with bans in Washington, New York, Boston, and Washington all expiring at different times.
Senior HUD officials stated that one of the main goals of the changes is to unite all jurisdictions.