The progressive congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (D., Mass.) has called rent cancellation legislation "literally a matter of life and death." At the same time, she has collected cash from her own rental properties.
Pressley and her husband made as much as $15,000 in rental income in 2019 after purchasing a $658,000 Boston home, according to property records and financial disclosures reviewed by the Washington Free Beacon. The income appears to come over the course of four months—the unit was first listed for $2,500 a month in June 2019 and the posting was removed in August.
Pressley and her husband refinanced the building as a multifamily investment property in August 2020. That requires the couple to maintain rent loss insurance.
Even if Pressley waived rent when the pandemic hit, she could recoup the lost income through a bill she cosponsored with fellow progressive representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) and Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.). The Squad members introduced the Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act in both 2020 and 2021, which would require the federal government to reimburse landlords for lost rent for the duration of the pandemic.
The bill also uses taxpayer money to create a "landlord relief fund" that prioritizes landlords with "the fewest available amount of assets," meaning Pressley and other minor lessors would be more likely to receive funds than large real estate firms.
While supporting the bill, Pressley argued that rental payments force American families to "choose between putting food on the table and keeping a roof over their head."
Pressley and her husband earned roughly $400,000 in combined income in 2019, the Democrat's financial disclosure shows.