Representative Omar Introduces Bill to Cancel Rent Payments during Pandemic

Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) introduced on April 17 the “Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act” to institute a nationwide cancellation of rents and home mortgage payments through the duration of the coronavirus pandemic. The bill is cosponsored by Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Veronica Escobar (D-TX), Jesús “Chuy” García (D-IL), and Grace Meng (D-NY).

Under the proposal, tenants and homeowners would be provided full payment forgiveness during the coronavirus crisis. Property owners and mortgage companies would be barred from charging late fees or evicting tenants from their homes. The bill also prevents payment forgiveness from negatively impacting renters’ and homeowners’ credit scores.

The bill also would create a relief fund for landlords and mortgage holders to cover losses from the cancelled payments. Housing providers who choose to seek relief funds must agree to take the following actions for 5 years: not raise rents; evict tenants only for good cause; not discriminate against households using housing vouchers; not discriminate against tenants based on sexual identity or gender identity, past conviction or arrest records, credit history, or immigration status; and not attempt to collect back rent from tenants.

The legislation also creates an Affordable Housing Acquisition Fund to fully finance the purchase of private rental properties by nonprofit organizations, public housing authorities, cooperatives, community land trusts, and states or local governments in order to increase the availability of affordable housing during this downturn.

Read the bill text at:

Read the press release from Represetative Omar at: