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Bill Signed: Rental Assistance, Stimulus Checks On the Way

After a short delay, the president signed a COVID relief package that offers financial help to landlords who cannot evict tenants during the pandemic, and $600 payments for many Americans. NAR posted updated info on how the rental-reimbursement program will work.

WASHINGTON – On Sunday, Dec. 27, President Donald Trump signed a $900 billion COVID relief package passed by Congress. The package includes rental assistance, individual stimulus checks up to $600, loans for struggling small businesses and more.

The president delayed signing the bill for several days after Congress approved the relief package the week after urging Congress to give more than $600 to individuals. With a government shutdown looming, however, he said in a statement that he signed it to “restore unemployment benefits, stop evictions, provide rental assistance, add money for PPP, return our airline workers back to work, add substantially more money for vaccine distribution and much more.”

The bill was attached to a $1.4 trillion spending measure to keep the government running through September. Funding for the operation of the federal government would have run out at midnight on Monday without approval.

The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) applauded several items in the package that will help members, homeowners and landlords. NAR says it championed several provisions within the bill, including rental assistance.

For property owners, landlords and property managers, NAR updated information on its website, including its FAQ for landlords and a quick reference guide.

“Through this bill, our members will continue to have access to unemployment and small business assistance,” Shannon McGahn, chief advocacy officer at NAR, said last week when Congress approved the bill. “But perhaps one of the biggest wins is rental assistance, which we have fought hard for since the last major COVID-19 bill was passed in April. It will bring instant relief to both mom-and-pop property owners and American families in danger of going over a financial cliff at the end of the year.”

Under the bill, states will receive $25 billion in rental assistance through Sept. 30, 2022. The funds allow landlords to apply for funds on behalf of tenants. The amount requested can include rent payments, plus other costs related to housing, such as utilities and similar expenses.

The bill also extended the federal eviction ban through the end of January.

For businesses, the bill provides an additional $284 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and creates a more simplified forgiveness process for borrowers who take part in the loan program.

According to NAR, one in five Realtors took out a PPP loan after Congress approved the program in the spring, shortly after the initial coronavirus outbreak in the U.S.

The relief package also provides up to $600 in direct stimulus checks to millions of Americans. Read more details of the bill at NAR.realtor.

Source: “Trump Reverses on Coronavirus Stimulus Deal Signs Package He Called a ‘Disgrace,’” USA Today (Dec. 27, 2020)

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