One-size-fits-all approach to rent relief leaves tenants and landlords without assistance

By Michaelle Bond, The Philadelphia Inquirer | December 21, 2020

Stoneleigh Fellow Vincent Reina spoke to The Philadelphia Inquirer about a new Housing Initiative at Penn report examining rental property owners’ experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Landlords who didn’t participate in Philadelphia’s pandemic rental assistance program were dissuaded by bureaucratic red tape and uncertainty, concerns about the amount of money they could collect, and strained relationships with tenants, according to a report released Monday by the Housing Initiative at Penn and the Philadelphia-based redevelopment nonprofit Reinvestment Fund.

Nearly a third of Philadelphia landlords whose tenants applied for emergency rental assistance did not fill out their part of the application, which was required for the distribution of funds. But the report’s authors found that many property owners were trying to work with their tenants to avoid eviction regardless of whether they were accepting government aid and bound by a program’s renter protections.

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