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Pressley Postpones Financial Disclosure Amid Questions About Real Estate Dealings

'Cancel rent' champion earned thousands as landlord

Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D., Mass.)
• May 17, 2021 12:42 pm

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Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D., Mass.) postponed filing her 2020 financial disclosure as the liberal congresswoman faced questions about whether she made money as a landlord during the coronavirus pandemic.

Pressley moved to extend her filing deadline by 90 days on April 26, just one week after the Washington Free Beacon reported that she collected up to $15,000 in rental income during a four-month period in 2019. Pressley has championed rent cancellation bills throughout the pandemic, calling such legislation "literally a matter of life and death."

Months into the pandemic, Pressley and her husband refinanced their Boston building as a multifamily investment property, local records show. The arrangement requires the couple to maintain rent loss insurance. Pressley's disclosure—which was originally due on May 15—would have shown any rental income the "Squad" member earned in 2020. The Democrat has until Aug. 13 to report her income for the year.

Pressley did not return a request for comment. She has ignored repeated requests for comment on her rental property from multiple outlets—including the Boston Herald—since the Free Beacon‘s original report.

Pressley and her husband purchased their two-unit building for $658,000 in April 2019, according to property records. The couple then posted one of the two units for a monthly rent of $2,500 in June 2019. The posting was removed in August.

If Pressley did waive rent during the pandemic, she could recoup the forfeited earnings through the Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act. The legislation, which Pressley cosponsored in both 2020 and 2021, would create a "landlord relief fund" to reimburse landlords for lost rent due to the virus.

The Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act specifically prioritizes landlords with "the fewest available amount of assets," thus prioritizing minor lessors such as Pressley over large real estate firms. The Democrat promoted the bill in March by arguing that rental payments force Americans to "choose between putting food on the table and keeping a roof over their head."

"With the economic impact of this pandemic worsening and the threat of eviction and homelessness looming large for families nationwide," Pressley said, "we must take every measure possible to keep families safely housed, forgive all rental debt, and ensure that the credit scores of hard-hit families are not forever tarnished."