According to a rent payment tracker recently launched by the National Multifamily Housing Council, 69 percent of households had paid their rent by April 5, compared to 82 percent at the same time last year. Federal law has addressed concerns regarding other late payments, and states have also addressed the topic along with assurances that utility service will be available to all throughout this unprecedented event.
Here are examples of remedies proposed in the last two weeks:
Credit Rating Protection: Massachusetts HD5012 stipulates that consumer reporting agencies are not allowed to report late payments on mortgage, auto and personal loans, student loans and credit cards that are due from the period beginning March 10, 2020, to 30 days after the governor rescinds his State of Emergency Order.
Relief for Renters: New York S8139 aims to provide rental relief to residential tenants, nonprofits and small businesses. Those that have experienced significant loss of income as a result of government-ordered restrictions in response to the pandemic would pay a maximum of 30 percent of their current income, or of their current rent (whichever is less) for 90 days after the law goes into effect. They would not be charged late fees, interest or other penalties. The bill also provides recourse for landlords who lose rental income.
Ensuring Utility Service: S2325, a New Jersey bill, forbids public utilities from discontinuing service for nonpayment of bills during an epidemic. It also requires them to restore service to customers who were cut off for nonpayment prior to the coronavirus epidemic, provided they are still living at the address.
Medical Services by EMTs: HB 598, an Ohio bill, would allow EMTs to perform medical services in hospitals, provided they are doing so under the direction of a physician, a physician’s assistant or a registered nurse.
Thanking Truck Drivers: HR 837, a Pennsylvania resolution, would establish Oct. 4, 2020, as “Truck Driver Appreciation Day.” It recognizes these men and women as “unsung heroes” who are working long hours, exposing themselves to risk, and playing a vital role in keeping supermarkets stocked and delivering blood, medicine and equipment to hospitals and clinics.