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As the COVID-19 pandemic foreclosure and eviction moratoriums grow closer to being lifted, homeowners and renters face the looming threat of losing their homes. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's acting director Dave Uejio and Federal Trade Commission acting chairwoman Rebecca Slaughter issued a joint statement regarding the two agencies' work to help stop illegal evictions.
“Staff at both agencies will be monitoring and investigating eviction practices, particularly by major multistate landlords, eviction management services, and private equity firms, to ensure that they are complying with the law. Evicting tenants in violation of the CDC, state, or local moratoria, or evicting or threatening to evict them without apprising them of their legal rights under such moratoria, may violate prohibitions against deceptive and unfair practices, including under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Federal Trade Commission Act. We will not tolerate illegal practices that displace families and expose them—and by extension all of us—to grave health risks,” read a portion of the statement.
Renters and homeowners experiencing pandemic-related unemployment or wage reduction are struggling to make monthly payments. According to a recent CFPB report, more than 11 million families are behind on their rent or mortgage payments: 2.1 million families are behind at least three months on mortgage payments, while 8.8 million are behind on rent.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced an extension of its moratorium on residential evictions to keep people in their homes, out of shelters, and to stop the spread of COVID-19. Renters have struggled to exercise their rights under the CDC’s eviction moratorium, and news reports indicate many renters have been forced out of their homes despite federal protections, according to the CFPB.
The CFPB and the FTC are working with the CDC to help renters and mortgage borrowers stay informed of their rights under eviction moratoriums. The CFPB and FTC will also be monitoring complaints issued by consumers.