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A Small Landlords Trade Group Calls for Emergency Rental Assistance in DC

by Nena Perry-Brown

One month after the Small Multifamily Owners Association (SMOA) launched in DC, the trade group is launching a campaign for emergency rental assistance.

Although DC has implemented an eviction moratorium that covers the duration of the public health emergency, the lack of rent cancellation and mounting unemployment  indicate that the expiration of the moratorium will trigger a wave of proceedings. This week, SMOA sent a letter to Mayor Muriel Bowser and the DC Council advocating for an "Emergency Eviction Diversion Program" (EEDP).

Because SMOA represents owners of rental properties with four to 50 units, the organization is asking that these properties be excluded from requirements to permit payment plans with tenants. The EEDP would serve as an alternative means of rent collection and eviction prevention among landlords and tenants in these properties.

"Both landlords and tenants face uncertainty and pressure from unpaid bills and the threat of costly and timely litigation," the letter reads, requesting removal of a provision that applicants for Emergency Rental Assistance Program funds must receive an eviction notice. "Thousands of DC residents could be evicted before they ever get an appointment for emergency assistance." 

In addition to ERAP, DC has deployed multiple rental assistance programs during the public health emergency. However, each program has a maximum household income for eligibility, up to 125% of area median income (AMI). There is also a program specific to residents of buildings with 50 or fewer units with incomes up to 60% of AMI.

The current state of emergency has been extended through October 9th. A recent Brookings Institution study estimated that one month of rental assistance to prevent evictions in DC would cost the city $5.2 million. 

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/dcs-small-landlords-trade-group-calls-for-emergency-rental-assistance/17100

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