Two Democrats in the Florida delegation–U.S. Reps. Val Demings and Al Lawson–are championing a bill that would “apply an automatic eviction moratorium to all rental properties and foreclosure moratorium to all federally backed mortgages for locations under a federal declaration of an emergency.”
Demings, who is running to replace U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., in 2022, introduced the “Federal Disaster Housing Stability Act” with Lawson as the only co-sponsor so far.
“Disasters happen, but evictions during a disaster don’t need to. We should not allow Americans to go homeless due to emergencies outside of their control. We can and must ensure that a natural disaster does not mean needless eviction for American families,” Demings said on Tuesday.
“This legislation would provide stability and certainty for millions of renters and homeowners during future federal emergencies. We know that Floridians will continue to experience future severe storms and other disasters, and we need to ensure that Floridian families are fully protected during these difficult times,” she added.
The congresswoman’s office offered some of the details on the bill.
“This bill would provide stability for renters and homeowners during future federally declared natural disasters by implementing an eviction moratorium for all rental properties and a foreclosure moratorium on all federally backed mortgages during a federally declared disaster,” Demings’ office noted. “The moratoriums would be targeted, applying to just those jurisdictions covered by the federal disaster declaration. The moratorium would cover six months for homeowners. For renters, the moratorium would cover at least 90 days from the disaster declaration, after a landlord receives federal disaster assistance, or the expiration of federal disaster assistance eligibility for landlords.”
Lawson pointed to hurricanes that have hit Florida in recent years as one of the reasons why the bill is needed.
“I have seen firsthand the toll that natural disasters, most recently with Hurricanes Michael and Irma, has placed on families across North Florida,” Lawson said on Tuesday. “Implementing a temporary eviction moratorium is crucial for recovery for many low-income households. Residents should not be burdened with locating a place to sleep at night during an already stressful time. The Federal Disaster Housing Stability Act is an important step in safeguarding our most vulnerable Americans during moments of tremendous need.”
The National Housing Law Project and the National Low Income Housing Coalition are backing the proposal.
The bill was sent to the U.S. House Financial Services Committee. So far, there is no companion bill over in the U.S. Senate.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org