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White House Panel Seeking Work-around for Backlog of Eviction Lawsuits

As the summer months wane, property owners, tenants and their associated advocates are facing major legal considerations with respect to enduring state and federal eviction restrictions. A federal moratorium has been put in place with an expiration date set for Saturday, July 31, although a number of other state mandates, which have faced their own varying legal challenges, also remain in play.

Biden smile 5621670 640For example, reports MPR News, just last month a number of landlords in Minnesota took to federal court to challenge an order from Gov. Tim Walz that has barred most evictions.

There is no shortage of concerns regarding the matter as tenants remain concerned about being removed from their homes, landlords are facing mounting financial pressures from lack of rental income and the courts are gearing up for an enormous backlog of cases between the parties.

In order to address some of these concerns, American Bar Association (ABA) President Patricia Lee Refo moderated a White House panel aimed at coming up with resolutions satisfactory to all parties. One move Refo advocated was immediately distributing a $46 billion pool of federal aid in order to help reduce the number of evictions pending.

The White House Summit on Eviction Prevention hoped to flesh out some strategies to reduce the stress potential evictions would have on courts around the nation, according to the ABA.

Per the White House, the panel included:

  • Rasheedah Phillips, managing attorney of Housing Policy, Community Legal Services of Philadelphia
  • Rene Solis, chief program officer at BakerRipley, an Emergency Rental Assistance provider in Houston-Harris County
  • Hon. Bridget Mary McCormack, chief justice of the Michigan Supreme Court
  • Gilbert Winn, CEO of WinnCompanies, a national landlord

Gene Sperling, the coordinator for the American Rescue Plan, said Refo’s leadership has been critical in moving forward with a way to mitigate the pending overload.

“The White House Summit came about because of an overwhelming willingness to work together—from housing advocates, to those running rental assistance programs in communities, to individuals and organizations fighting for racial justice, to legal services groups, to the leadership of the American Bar Association,” Sperling said. “We are in a race against time and must accelerate the work of state and local governments to distribute emergency rental assistance funds and prioritize eviction diversion programs to help deliver deeply needed relief to renters and landlords and keep people in their homes.”

According to statistics provided by the ABA, one out of every seven U.S. renters is delinquent on their rent.

From Twitter:

CBS This Morning @CBSThisMorning Jun 30

"The Supreme Court said it will allow the CDC moratorium on evictions, imposed to protect renters during the coronavirus pandemic, to remain in place. https://t.co/Qcd4wKBaPd?amp=1"

The summit also featured breakout sessions for local officials, legal services groups, court officials, local bar associations, landlord associations, community-based organizations and others from across 46 U.S. “I am simply here to say the lawyers of America are here to do our part,” Refo said. “We stand ready to help.”

As the July 31 closes in, it remains to be seen exactly how federal, state and local officials plan to balance the property rights of landlords with protections for tenants and address the potential mass exodus of renters.

Solis stressed collaboration in the matter. “Payments and collection of rent is critical to rental housing, especially in affordable housing,” he said. “[But] renters deserve a safety net if they fall on hard times through no fault of their own.”

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