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Major Multifamily Group Urges 90-Day Eviction, Rent Increase Freeze

The National Multifamily Housing Council says apartment firms should consider temporarily halting evictions, avoiding rent increases and waiving late fees for millions of renters around the U.S. financially hurt by the coronavirus pandemic. 

The NMHC says 40 million Americans live in apartments.

The D.C.-based nonprofit outlined several measures that it recommends apartment companies consider adopting in a statement Sunday.

Among them are halting evictions for 90 days for residents who can show they have been impacted by COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, and avoiding rent increases over that same period.

The NMHC also called for the federal government to provide financial relief to property owners, and to provide disaster housing for renters suffering financially due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

"Congress must extend mortgage forbearance to rental property owners and extend similar protections to other financial obligations such as insurance premiums, utility service payments and tax liabilities," the NMHC said. "We also continue to call on Congress to provide disaster housing assistance for renters who are suffering from income disruption as a result of the pandemic."

The announcement comes as the coronavirus continues to affect the health of millions of people and the finances of many more. As of Sunday, there had been almost 32,000 cases in the U.S. and at least 378 deaths, the New York Times reports. As states like California and New York attempt to contain the spread of COVID-19, tens of millions of Americans face shelter-in-place orders.

To support the 40 million Americans that the NMHC says live in apartments, it also recommends landlords consider creating payment plans for residents impacted by the outbreak and waive late fees, among other initiatives. 

"These are trying, even desperate times and all of us face grim uncertainty in the days ahead," the NMHC said. "However, by working together – apartment residents, owners and operators, and lawmakers at all levels of government – we can develop solutions to the evolving challenges and keep Americans housed."