Senators Portman and Bennet Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Tackle Eviction Crisis

Posted By: Jonathan Clay Industry News,

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) today introduced the Eviction Crisis Act to address the national housing crisis crippling millions of Americans who are struggling to rise into the middle class. The bipartisan legislation will shed light on the root causes of the eviction crisis, reduce preventable evictions, and limit the devastation to families when eviction is unavoidable.

“Stable housing is a vital part of getting people back on their feet. I’ve long worked on efforts to address homelessness and increase the supply of housing and I’m proud to partner with Senator Bennet on this new bipartisan initiative. This legislation will help prevent avoidable evictions, reduce homelessness, and make it easier for people to escape poverty by keeping a roof over their heads,” said Senator Portman.

“Today in America, an unexpected illness, a car accident, or a family emergency can lead to a family being evicted from their home and falling into a cycle of poverty that lasts for years,” said Senator Bennet. “The hardship caused by eviction is agonizing for the hundreds of thousands of American families evicted every year – and it’s damaging to our communities. As a former school superintendent, I saw kids unable to stay awake in class because they didn’t have a stable place to sleep the night before. And I’ve heard from many hard-working Coloradans about how one misstep led to their lives falling apart. Our Eviction Crisis Act will put in place bipartisan measures that both prevent eviction and limit the harm when it is unavoidable.”

The Eviction Crisis Act will:

Improve Data and Analysis on Evictions

  • Creates a national database to standardize data and track evictions, in order to better inform policy decisions.
  • Establishes a Federal Advisory Committee on Eviction Research to make recommendations related to data collection, as well as policies and practices that can prevent evictions or mitigate their consequences.
  • Authorizes funding for a comprehensive study to track evictions, analyze landlord-tenant law, and assess varying factors in urban, suburban, and rural areas.

Reduce Preventable Evictions and MItigate Eviction-Related Consequences

Co-invest in state and local government programs:

  • Creates a program to fund state and local governments expanding the use of landlord-tenant community courts and increasing the presence of social services representatives for tenants, which help both tenants and landlords avoid the high cost of eviction.
  • Establishes an Emergency Assistance Fund to provide financial assistance and housing stability-related services to eviction-vulnerable tenants.

Support increased legal representation for tenants:

  • Expresses support for substantially increasing funding for the Legal Services Corporation, a public-private partnership that provides legal services to low-income Americans.

Improve Information on Tenant Screening Reports

  • Requires consumer reporting agencies to provide consumers with tenant screening reports when they are requested as part of a rental application process, so tenants can contest and correct inaccurate or incomplete information.
  • When a court rules in favor of a tenant in an eviction proceeding, requires those judgments and eviction filings related to that proceeding to be removed from tenant screening reports.

The following resources for the Eviction Crisis Act are available below: