Wednesday 22nd of September 2021

"let's blame" trump once more...

eviction...eviction...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 A nationwide moratorium on residential evictions is set to expire on Saturday after a last-minute effort by the Biden administration to win an extension failed, putting hundreds of thousands of tenants at risk of losing shelter, while tens of billions in federal funding intended to pay their back rent sit untapped.

 

 

The expiration was a humbling setback for President Biden, whose team has tried for months to fix a dysfunctional emergency rent relief program to help struggling renters and landlords. Running out of time and desperate to head off a possible wave of evictions, the White House abruptly shifted course on Thursday, throwing responsibility to Congress and prompting a frenzied — and ultimately unsuccessful — rescue operation by Democrats in the House on Friday.

The collapse of those efforts reflected the culmination of months of frustration, as the White House pushed hard on states to speed housing assistance to tenants — with mixed results — before the moratorium expired. Hampered by a lack of action by the Trump administration, which left no real plan to carry out the program, Mr. Biden’s team has struggled to build a viable federal-local funding pipeline, hindered by state governments that view the initiative as a burden and the ambivalence of many landlords.

As a result, the $47 billion Emergency Rental Assistance program, to date, disbursed only $3 billion — about 7 percent of what was supposed to be a crisis-averting infusion of cash.

Adding to the urgency, Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh warned last month, when the Supreme Court allowed a one-month extension of the eviction moratorium to stand, that any further extensions would have to go through Congress. But there was little chance that Republicans on Capitol Hill would agree, and by the time White House officials asked, only two days remained before the freeze expired, angering Democratic leaders who said they had no time to build support for the move...

 

 

Read more:

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/31/us/politics/eviction-moratorium-biden-housing-aid.html

 

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congresswoman cori bush sleeps rough...

 

Congresswoman Cori Bush has spent a night on the steps of the US Capitol to protest against the impending end of a Covid-related freeze on evictions.

The 45-year-old House Democrat said seven million people would be "at risk for evictions" over unpaid rent when the moratorium ends midnight Saturday.

The freeze was imposed 11 months ago in part to halt the spread of infections through crowding in shelters.

Ms Bush, who was once homeless, wants the moratorium to be extended. 

In a tweet early on Saturday, she wrote: "Good morning. The eviction moratorium expires tonight at midnight. We could have extended it yesterday, but some Democrats went on vacation instead.

"We slept at the Capitol last night to ask them to come back and do their jobs. Today's their last chance. We're still here."

 

The Democrat-majority House of Representatives adjourned for a seven-week recess on Friday without renewing the moratorium.

Extension opponents say many landlords are struggling with their mortgage repayments without regular rent money.

Ms Bush said that despite managing only an hour of sleep in a chair, she was now preparing to spend another night outside the Capitol in Washington DC.

On Saturday, Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren and Jim McGovern, a House Republican, briefly joined Ms Bush to voice their full support for her action.

 

Read more:

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-58043908

 

Why not give moneys to the "landlords" who struggle?...

becoming houseless...

 

What’s REALLY behind the war on home ownership?

 


Becoming a “Nation of Renters” is clearly a big part of the New Normal.

 


By Kit Knightly

 

 

The incipient “Great Reset” is a multi-faceted beast. We talk a lot about vaccine passports and lockdowns and the Covid-realated aspects – and we should – but there’s more to it than that.

Remember, they want you to “own nothing and be happy”. And right at the top of the list of things you definitely shouldn’t own, is your own home.

The headlines about this have been steady for the last few years, but it has picked up pace in the wake of the “pandemic” (as has so much else). An agenda hidden on back pages, behind by Covid’s meaningless big red numbers, but perhaps no less sinister.

You can find articles all over the net talking up renting over owning.

Last month, for example, Bloomberg ran an article headlined:

America Should Become a Nation of Renters”

Which praises what they call “the liquefaction of the housing market” and gleefully expounds on the idea that “The very features that made home buying an affordable and stable investment are coming to an end.”

The Atlantic published “Why Its Better To Rent Than Own” in March. 

Financial pages from Business Insider to Forbes to Yahoo and Bloomberg again are filled with lists titled “9 Ways Renting is Better Than Buying”or similar.

Other publications go more personal with it, with anecdotal columns about ignoring financial advice and refusing to buy your home. Vox, never one to sell their agenda with any kind of subtlety, have a piece titled:

Homeownership can bring out the worst in you

Which literally argues that buying a house can make you a bad person:

It’s the biggest thing you might ever buy. And it could be turning you into a bad person.

So what exactly is the narrative here? What’s the story behind the story?

The short answer is fairly simple: It’s about greed, and it’s about control. 

It almost always is, in the end.

The longer answer is rather more complicated. Major investment firms such as Vanguard and Blackrock, along with rental companies such as American Homes 4 Rent, are buying up single-family homes in record numbers – sometimes entire neighbourhoods at a time.

They pay well over market value, pricing families who want to own those homes out of the market, which forces the housing market up whilst the Lockdown-created recession is lowering wages and creating millions of newly unemployed.

Of course, this is motivating people to sell the houses they already own. 

People all across America have been saddled with houses worth less than they bought them for since the 2008 economic crash, and are eager to take the cash from private investment firms paying 10-20% over market value. Combine an economic recession with a created housing boom and you have a huge population of motivated sellers.

Of course, many of these sellers don’t realise, until it’s too late, that even if they attempt to downsize or move to a cheaper area, they may be priced out of the market completely, and forced to rent

As such, in the last year, the private investment share of single-family home purchases is estimated to have increased ten-fold, going from 2% in 2018 to over 20% this year. 

As more and more people are forced to rent, of course, rental properties will be in higher and higher demand. This in turn will drive the cost of renting up.

Market Watch has already reported that, in the last year, rent has increased over 3x faster than the government predicted.

This problem is likely to get worse in the near future.

Last night, Congress “accidentally failed” to extend the Covid-related eviction ban

Which means, this weekend, while Senators adjourn to the summer homes they probably don’t rent, the ban will officially end and a lot of people are likely to have their houses foreclosed or their landlords kick them out.

The newly empty buildings will be a feeding frenzy for the massive corporate landlords. Who will descend on the banks like starving hyenas to snap up the foreclosed properties for pennies on the dollar. Just like they did in 2008.

None of this is any secret, it’s been covered in the mainstream. Tucker Carlson even did a segment on it in early June.

The Wall Street Journal headlined, back in April, “If You Sell a House These Days, the Buyer Might Be a Pension Fund”, and reported:

Yield-chasing investors are snapping up single-family homes, competing with ordinary Americans and driving up prices

However, since then, something has clearly changed. The propaganda machine has kicked into gear to defend Wall Street from any backlash. 

No better example of this shift can be found than The Atlantic, which ran this story in 2019:

WHEN WALL STREET IS YOUR LANDLORD
With help from the federal government, institutional investors became major players in the rental market. They promised to return profits to their investors and convenience to their tenants. Investors are happy. Tenants are not.

…and this story last month:

BLACKROCK IS NOT RUINING THE US HOUSING MARKET
The real villain isn’t a faceless Wall Street Goliath; it’s your neighbors and local governments stopping the construction of new units.

Going back to the Vox well we have:

Wall Street isn’t to blame for the chaotic housing market

Which ran just a few days after the Atlantic article, and is practically identical.

Both these (oddly similar) articles argue that Wall Street and private equity firms can’t be blamed for buying up houses, and that the realproblem is the lack of supply to meet demand.

You see, all the “selfish” people who already own homes (they did say it makes you a bad person) are blocking the construction of new houses, and thus driving up the cost of property through scarcity.

This has been a logically flawed argument around the housing market for decades.

That there aren’t enough houses for people to buy is patently absurd when the US census data says that there are over 15 million houses currently standing empty. That’s enough to house all of America’s roughly 500,000 homeless people 30x over.

There’s plenty of houses, there’s just not enough money to buy them. 

The reason for that is the same reason the California has massive “homeless camps” in its major cities, and that so many people are having to become renters instead of owners: wage stagnation

For decades now, wage increases have lagged behind increases in the cost of living. In the 1960s one full-time job could afford a decent standard of living for a family of four or more. These days both parents work, sometimes multiple jobs each.

It was huge amounts of financial de-regulation which created this situation. So, whether you believe Vox’s BlackRock apologia or not, one way or another Wall Street very definitely is to blame.

But this isn’t just about money. It never is. Just as the war on cash isn’t just about efficiency, and the environmental push isn’t just about climate change. Ditto veganism. It’s about control. Just like vaccines, lockdowns and masks.

It always comes down to control.

It’s an oft-used cliche, but no less true for that, that homeowning “gives people a stake in society”. A family-owned house is a source of security for the future and something to leave your children. It is also sovereignty and privacy. Your own space that no one else can control or take away.

In short: A homeowner is independent. A renter is not. A renter can be controlled. A homeowner can not.

It’s the same reasoning behind the way working people were encouraged to take out loans and become debt slaves. If you limit people’s options, if you make them rely on you for a roof over their heads, you have control over them.

There’s a great article about this situation called “Your New Feudal Overlords”

Under Feudalism, land wasn’t owned by the working class, but provided to them by landed barons, hence the term “Land Lord”. If you disrespected your Lord, or broke his rules, or he perceived another peasant/farm animal/crop would be a better use of the land, he could take it back.

Essentially, the behaviour of serfs was kept in check by their reliance on the nobility for a place to live. That’s very much the dynamic they’re going for here.

Rental agreements can be full of any terms and conditions the landlord wants, and the more desperate people get the more of their consumer rights they will sign over.

Maybe you’ll agree to smart meters which monitor your internet or power-usage habits, and then sell the data to behavioural modellers and viral marketers. 

Maybe you’ll have to agree to certain power limitations or water shortages in order to “fight climate change”.

Maybe it will get worse than that. 

Maybe they’ll go full Black Mirror style corporate dystopia. Maybe, through affiliation programs, the mega-equity firm which owns your rental house has ties to McDonald’s, and as such will require you to not eat at any competing fast-food franchises, or demand you observe at least ninety seconds of Disney advertisements per day.

Maybe it will be as simple as including vaccine status in the tenancy agreement, making it impossible for the unvaxxed to find a home.

Maybe they just want to make poor people miserable.

After all, the super-wealthy have got all the money they could ever need, and all the luxury they could ever use. Their living standards are as high as physically possible. So maybe the only way they can keep “winning”, is to start driving the living standards of us proles down.

No air travel. No vacations. No going out at all. Live in a tiny house, or a pod. Eat bugs. Get rid of your car. Rent your clothes. Or your furniture. Pay taxes on sugar. And alcohol. And red meat.

They’ve been very clear about this. They’ve told you about the Great Reset and the Internet of Things. That’s the plan.

You won’t own a house. And you’ll be happy…or else the mega-corporation you’re forced to rent from will kick you out.

 

 

Read more:

https://off-guardian.org/2021/07/31/whats-really-behind-the-war-on-home-ownership/

 

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evictions pending...

 

By Graham Dockery, RT

 

Millions of Americans face imminent homelessness, after Democrats left Washington without extending an eviction moratorium, set to expire on Saturday. However, America’s largest corporate landlords are about to make a killing.

An 11-month eviction moratorium that prevented tens of millions of Americans from losing their homes during the coronavirus-induced economic shutdown expires on July 31, after Congress left Washington for recess without passing a bill to extend it.

The moratorium was put in place by the Donald Trump administration last year and extended by the Joe Biden administration in June, but a Supreme Court ruling that same month stated that further extension would require “clear and specific congressional authorization.” President Biden asked his allies in Congress this week to pass a bill extending the eviction ban, and House Democrats had enough votes to do so, but nevertheless didn’t. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi put the failure down to not having “enough time to socialize it within our caucus as well as to build the consensus, especially in a time of Covid.”

 

Read more: https://www.rt.com/usa/530813-eviction-blackrock-great-reset/

 

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evictions delayed...

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced it is renewing the ban on evictions that expired on July 31, setting the stage for a constitutional showdown after the US Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that the public health agency didn’t have the authority to issue such a ban.

After days of protests outside the US Capitol and appeals by federal lawmakers, US President Joe Biden has bowed to popular pressure and directed the CDC to extend the federal eviction moratorium until October 3. The move will protect perhaps 90% of American renters as more than 11 million people remain behind on their rent payments, according to CNBC.

"Following the recent surge in cases brought forth by the highly transmissible Delta variant, the CDC Director now issues a new order temporarily halting evictions for persons in counties experiencing substantial or high rates of transmission," the updated order issued Tuesday states. "This order will expire on October 3, 2021, but is subject to further extension, modification, or rescission based on public health circumstances."

However, the new measure is more restrictive than before, now saying it is "intended to target specific areas of the country where cases are rapidly increasing, which likely would be exacerbated by mass evictions."

The updated terms defined a "covered person" as someone who:

  • has used best efforts to obtain all available governmental assistance for rent or housing
  • has earned no more than $99,000, or $198,000 if filing jointly in 2020 and expects to earn less than that in 2021
  • is unable to pay the full rent or make a full housing payment due to substantial loss of household income, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, a layoff, or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses
  • would likely be rendered homeless by eviction
  • resides in a US county experiencing "substantial" or "high" rates of community transmission levels of SARS-CoV-2 as defined by the CDC

"I applaud the CDC for imposing an eviction moratorium for the vast majority of the population," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said in a statement. "For anyone to lose their home through no fault of their own is devastating, and it's shameful that Republicans in Congress aren’t lifting a finger to help prevent it from happening."

“You did this!” - @SenSchumer pic.twitter.com/PlmIFiLGKY

— Congresswoman Cori Bush (@RepCori) August 3, 2021

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said in a statement that "Democrats have worked tirelessly for this action, which is based on public health needs. This brand new moratorium will provide time for the money allocated by Congress to flow, as it helps stop the spread of the virus which is worsening due to the delta variant and protects families and landlords. I am especially pleased about what this means to the children who have had uncertainty about their housing, their health and their education.”​

The decision sets the stage for a showdown with the US Supreme Court over the legality of the move. In late June, the nation's top court sidedwith a group of Alabama landlords, agreeing the CDC "exceeded its existing statutory authority" with the eviction ban; however, the court declined to strike down the ban itself, since it only had one month left before it expired. However, Justice Brett Kavanagh noted a ban on evictions wasn't necessarily illegal if implemented via other means, such as legislative action.

As a consequence, as the end of July neared, confusion reined in Washington about what to do: Congressional Democrats appealed to Biden to renew the ban, while Biden appealed to the CDC to take action, then to Congress just hours before the House adjourned on Friday for a seven-week recess.

As lawmakers left and the ban expired, Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) began a protest on the steps of the US Capitol building, promising to continue sleeping rough until a new eviction ban was implemented. The protest drew at times hundreds of protesters and several other progressive lawmakers who came to express their support.

On Monday, Biden again appealed to the CDC, which again declined, saying it had "been unable to find legal authority," according to White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.

Expiration of the ban would have opened more than 11 million Americans up to being evicted from their homes, since many state eviction bans put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic had either already expired or would soon expire. While the administration has earmarked some $46 billion in emergency financial assistance for renters behind on their rent, more than enough to erase all rent debts accumulated during the pandemic, only a tiny fraction of that money has actually been distributed - just $4.5 billion.

In its updated order Tuesday, the CDC referenced the slow pace of aid disbursement as a contributing factor in their decision.

"Based on analysis of grantee reporting, [the Department of the] Treasury believes that the monthly deployment of rental assistance by state and local emergency rental assistance programs will continue to increase from the significant deployment in June," the order notes. "In addition to Emergency Rental Assistance, there are also coordinated efforts across federal agencies to  - in partnership with states and localities - promote eviction prevention strategies."

Unlike renters, homeowners were given the option of actually pausing their mortgage payments, although a federal moratorium on foreclosures of federally-backed mortgages was also allowed to expire on July 31. With 1.75 million Americans behind on their house payments, and 1.5 million of them more than 90 days behind, the threat of mass foreclosures has become palpable even with protection for renters.

 

Read more:

https://sputniknews.com/us/202108031083519756-us-cdc-renews-federal-ban-on-evictions-until-october-3/

 

And this does not include the owners of houses who cannot repay the mortgages...

 

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landlords land...

IN COURTHOUSES ACROSS the country this week, grief and anger over looming eviction orders turned to hope as the Biden administration shifted course.

The evictions were temporarily halted yesterday with the announcement that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will extend the federal eviction moratorium in counties with “high levels of community transmission levels” for 60 days.

But not everyone was pleased. Some view the coming eviction wave in more jubilant terms, as a long-awaited financial opportunity to increase dividend payments. Wall Street financial analysts, speaking to corporate-owned apartment complexes in recent weeks, have pressed for answers on how investors can benefit from the expected wave of tenant evictions.

Many of the largest investor-owned apartment trusts have carefully tracked pandemic-related restrictions on landlords, preparing for a return to normal so that those late on payments can be removed and rents can be increased. The push for profits comes despite the fact that many corporate landlords are roaring back and performing better than ever.

In June, rents soared 14.6 percent over the previous year, a rate of increase not seen since 1993. Publicly traded residential real estate stocks have been surging, with increased dividends and stock performance that have made them one of the most successful asset classes this year.

NexPoint Residential Trust, which owns over 14,000 rental units around the country, noted in a call with investors last week that its occupancy rate is up to 96 percent, a rate the company noted was at an “all-time high” and positions the company to “aggressively push [rental] rates” for the “remainder of the year.”

 

But that good financial news also included a push to evict the relatively small number of nonpaying tenants.

“We’re tiering out the folks that we think are candidates for eviction immediately,” announced Brian Dale Mitts, the chief financial officer of the company.

“Could you talk a little bit, maybe about that process, how quickly you get them out?” asked Michael Robert Lewis, an analyst with Truist Securities, the recently formed investment bank. Lewis also asked about the “market fundamentals” of the end of the eviction moratorium as “not just you but others kind of release all of a sudden available inventory into the market.”

Matthew Ryan McGraner, the chief investment officer of NexPoint, noted that the firm had identified 123 units that have “gone dark on us, so to speak or haven’t been making any payments.”

Those units, he said, have been notified, evictions have been filed, and the company had teams prepared to go in and renovate to place the units back on the market. On the bigger economic question, of how landlords might be harmed by a sudden influx of available rental units and renters from the end of the moratorium, McGraner noted “most institutional owners will not rent to a tenant that’s been evicted for whatever reason” and would be going to apartments that are “lower quality.”

Last Thursday, UDR Inc., a real estate trust that owns 149 apartment complexes, also released its earnings report, showing dazzling growth. The company reported strong financials, including increased revenue and a 97.5 percent occupancy rate, a “new high watermark.” Alexander Kalmus, a senior associate with Zelman & Associates, during the call pressed UDR on the end of various restrictions on landlords.

UDR executives quickly chimed in, explaining that the firm would move swiftly on evictions once the moratoriums are gone.

“We have about 400 people that if we could evict today, we would,” replied Michael Lacy, UDR’s senior vice president of property operations, during a general discussion of the company’s second quarter earnings.

“I think, too, as you look at that 400, some of those individuals are just noncommunicative individuals that will not communicate with us, that have not signed a declaration of hardship from Covid that, in many cases, have the ability to pay those rents,” said Joseph Fisher, UDR’s chief financial officer.

“They have the ability to pay in many cases,” he added. “They have simply taken advantage of the system.”

Thomas Toomey, UDR’s chief executive, added that the company lost $1.5 million to $1.6 million a month from the 400 tenants they planned to evict.

“So the challenge for us in the future,” said Toomey, “we’d like to get the unit back, reprice it to market, and get that revenue stream back online. That being said, we will work with any resident on their hardship and programs to take advantage of government aid or keep them in our apartment homes, but we are anxious to get those 400 units back online in terms of revenue.”

UDR and NexPoint did not respond to a request for comment.

THE PRESSURE FROM investment banks on investor-owned apartment complexes has existed since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.

In May of last year, during an earnings call, Daniel Ismail, an analyst with Green Street Advisors, pushed executives at Douglas Emmett, which owns apartment buildings in southern California and Hawaii, to find creative ways to pressure delinquent tenants on rent.

“You mentioned the restrictions on evictions. Are you able to utilize security deposits and letters of credits to make up some of the shortfall and nonpayment?” asked Ismail.

Jordan Kaplan, an executive at the firm, said no. “I don’t think pulling security deposits and starting to sort of unravel a lease going kind of DEFCON 4 on them, I just don’t think it’s the right idea right now,” he noted. “I think if we get these moratoriums worked out to be less penalizing, I think a lot of these people are just going, ‘I’ll pay now.’”

 

Read more:

https://theintercept.com/2021/08/04/evictions-wall-street-corporate-landlords/

 

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inevitable delayed...

THE MORATORIUM EXTENSION WON’T END EVICTIONS

 

Progressives celebrated as Biden extended the eviction moratorium. But three housing advocates in a city with one of the nation's highest eviction rates warn that renters were never really protected during the pandemic. Progressives like Rep. Cori Bush successfully pushed President Joe Biden for a 60-day extension to the eviction moratorium, which covers approximately 7 million people. But this protection only extends to areas with high COVID-19 transmission. The vast majority of rent relief aid is yet to be distributed, and housing advocates warn that unless further protections are enacted, the hard-fought extension will only delay the inevitable.   Read more:https://therealnews.com/the-moratorium-extension-wont-end-%EF%BB%BFevictions Read from top.  freefree

get better lawyers...

WASHINGTON — By the time President Biden returned from his weekend retreat at Camp David on Monday, his White House was engulfed in a political crisis as thousands of families faced the risk of eviction in the middle of a resurgent pandemic.

Progressive Democrats were publicly assailing the administration for allowing an eviction ban to expire that past Saturday and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, unable to secure the votes to approve an extension, was demanding Mr. Biden find a different solution.

The president, who had been largely focused on securing bipartisan support for his infrastructure bill, was caught off-guard by the ferocity of the reaction after a month in which Democratic lawmakers had been largely silent. His initial move to at least deflect blame by calling on Congress to extend the ban just two days before it expired hadn’t worked, and it infuriated Ms. Pelosi in the process.

Mr. Biden and his aides claimed their hands were legally tied by a recent Supreme Court ruling that strongly suggested — but did not explicitly say — that the nationwide evictions moratorium exceeded the government’s emergency powers under a public health law. But Ms. Pelosi did not accept that explanation.

“Get better lawyers,” Ms. Pelosi told one of Mr. Biden’s aides, according to a government official familiar with the conversation.

 

Read more:

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/07/us/politics/biden-congress-eviction-moratorium.html

 

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