Congressman Cohen Calls for Extending the National Eviction Moratorium

August 3, 2021
Press Release
Court ruling in Memphis case spurred earlier crisis here

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), a senior member of the Judiciary Committee, today asked the White House to extend the national eviction moratorium that ended Saturday and threatens and put 11.4 million people at risk of homelessness during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Congressman Cohen re-introduced the Emergency Eviction Enforcement Act in March to protect vulnerable tenants from evictions during a national emergency or public health crisis. He also chaired a House Judiciary Subcommittee hearing in June on the issue, titled “Potential Remedies for Unlawful Evictions in Federal Emergency Areas.”

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

“The expiration of the national eviction moratorium is causing unnecessary harm. This public health crisis has not ended, and creating more homelessness will only make it worse. The moratorium must be extended, but Democrats did not have the support of any Republicans in our effort to pass an extension to December 31.

“Unfortunately, the eviction crisis came to Tennessee’s 9th Congressional District earlier than it did in most of the country through a misguided U.S. District Court ruling prematurely ending the moratorium in Western Tennessee that the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has declined to stay. I again encourage the Department of Justice to appeal that ruling, and end the threat of eviction and homelessness for my constituents.”

The Emergency Eviction Enforcement Act of 2021 would prevent landlords from effecting evictions by creating a private right of action in federal court against landlords for housing tenants who were evicted without a duly issued court order during a national emergency or public health emergency. To deter this conduct, successful plaintiffs would be entitled to three times rent and attorneys’ fees.

Additional information on Assistance for Renters and Landlords

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has launched a “Rental Assistance Finder” tool to help determine if renters are eligible for financial relief to cover past due rent and utility bills.

This relief is provided through the COVID-19 Emergency Rental and Utilities Assistance Program which can help eligible renters and landlords pay their past due rent and utilities for up to 12 months. Renters eligible for the financial assistance must demonstrate all three of the following:

  1. Someone in the household had a COVID-19 related financial loss
  2. You are past due on your rent or utility bills
  3. Your household income is under 80% of the county’s median income

Approved applicants facing evictions will be prioritized for rental assistance and will be paired with free legal assistance to attempt to settle disputes.

Shelby County renters should follow this link to apply for financial assistance: https://home901.org/covid-renters/#apply.

Landlords seeking financial assistance must first fill out this landlord registration form: https://portal.neighborlysoftware.com/ERAP-MEMPHISSHELBYCOUNTYTN/Participant. In order to receive payment, the tenant must apply to the program. Once a tenant’s application has been accepted, landlords must sign a legal agreement that they will not evict for the months paid for by the program. This agreement must be signed for a landlord to receive payment.

For help through the application process, call 211 or email help@home901.org. In-person appointments can also be scheduled at one of the Help Centers by calling 211.

More information about the COVID-19 Emergency Rental and Utilities Assistance Program for Shelby County can be found at this link: https://home901.org/covid-resources/.  For additional resources and a national “Rental Assistance Finder” tool provided by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, visit  https://www.consumerfinance.gov/coronavirus/mortgage-and-housing-assistance/renter-protections/.

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