May 15, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON - Today, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D – Los Angeles County) introduced the Prevent Evictions Act to address the eviction crisis by supporting cost-effective solutions to keep families in their homes. The bill is the companion legislation to a U.S. Senate bill, the Prevent Evictions Act of 2019, introduced by Senator Maggie Hassan and backed by Matthew Desmond, author of the Pulitzer Prize winning book, Evicted. The legislation seeks to mitigate the eviction crisis by creating a landlord-tenant mediation program and directing the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to study the cost-effectiveness of certain types of rent insurance in reducing evictions.

“I’m pleased to introduce this bill alongside Senator Maggie Hassan to keep families in their homes and reduce the number of low-dollar evictions,” Rep. Lieu said. “Often times, tenants are evicted because of an inability to pay a couple hundred dollars or less in rent because of an unexpected cost like a car payment or medical emergency. The ramifications of these evictions end up being more financially costly for the individual evicted, his/her family and the community around them. By investing in landlord-tenant mediation programs, we are providing opportunities to bring both parties to the table to reach mutually agreed upon solutions that reduce evictions and the impact they have on individual lives and the greater economy. Ensuring people can avoid homelessness, particularly during this pandemic, is a top priority for me."

“The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the importance of creating safety nets to help hard-working families weather unpredictable events that could prevent them from making the rent that month,” said Senator Hassan“I am pleased that Representative Lieu has introduced a companion bill to my Prevent Evictions Act to help landlords and tenants reach fair agreements that keep families in their homes, and I will continue working to build support for this important legislation.”   

The legislation would use federal dollars to establish a formal standard for landlord-tenant mediation programs, thus building upon efforts already in place in Los Angeles County to foster open communication between renters and property owners. It also holds the support of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), and the City of Santa Monica Rent Control Board, among other groups.