On October 7, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) published an Interim Final Rule (IFR) intended to protect tenants facing eviction for nonpayment of rent from HUD-subsidized public housing and properties with project-based rental assistance (PBRA) during national public emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The IFR seeks to prohibit eviction from these properties for nonpayment of rent by requiring owners to first provide a 30-day notice period that includes information on available federal emergency rental assistance to at-risk tenants. The rule follows a number of actions taken by HUD to keep families and individuals safely and stably housed through the pandemic and beyond, including establishing an Eviction Prevention Grant Program and publishing eviction prevention resources.
During a national public emergency where emergency rental assistance is available, the IFR allows HUD to:
- Require public housing authorities (PHAs) and PBRA owners to provide information about available emergency rental assistance to tenants facing eviction for nonpayment of rent;
- Extend the notice a PHA or PBRA owner must give before a tenant facing eviction for nonpayment of rent has to vacate a unit from 14 to 30 days, in order to provide those tenants with time to access emergency rental assistance; and
- Require PHAs and PBRA owners to provide all tenants, not just those facing eviction for nonpayment of rent, with information about available emergency rental assistance.
The IFR may speed the delivery of assistance under the current federal Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program by connecting individuals facing eviction with information about available funding. Counties across the country are working diligently to implement the ERA program at the local level, and the IFR will help counties connect with their residents that are most in need of assistance.
Comments on the IFR are due by November 8, which is also the date on which the guidance will take effect. NACo will continue to monitor federal action around eviction prevention, rental assistance and housing policy.
NACo has also established a federal Emergency Rental Assistance program resource hub, a COVID-19 Recovery Clearinghouse and a breakdown of funding provided in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), which counties can utilize to navigate the funding and assistance available to them as they work to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic at the local level.