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No rent or mortgage for a year? A closer look at Congresswoman's proposal to cancel your payments

Under Rep. Ilhan Omar's plan all Americans would be eligible to have rent and mortgage payments canceled through next April regardless of income level.

HOUSTON — The longer the COVID-19 pandemic goes, more and more families will find it harder and harder to pay their rent or mortgage. A third of Americans did not pay rent in April. 

It's why Minnesota Rep. Rep. Ilhan Omar is sponsoring the Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act. The new proposal says as long as the COVID-19 crisis continues, Americans simply don't have to pay their rent or mortgage.

$0. Nothing.

Also, no debt would be accumulated. And there would be no negative impact on your credit rating or renter's history. 

Rent and mortgage payments would be forgiven retroactive to March 13, 2020, and it would last for a year. If you already paid April's rent, you'd be refunded that money. 

And there are no real restrictions. 

All Americans would be eligible to have their rent and mortgage payments canceled, no matter what your income level is. 

If you owe a mortgage and separately rent a place, you can only receive rent relief or mortgage relief. It's up to you. 

The bill calls for a relief fund to be set up through the Department of Housing and Urban Development where the government would reimburse landlords and lenders for their lost rent and mortgage payments. And if lenders and landlords take action against property owners and tenants, they could be fined between $5,000 and $50,000.

RELATED: Hold the rent: Proposed bill would cancel rent and mortgages during COVID-19

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Right now there's no real price tag yet on what all this would cost. The bill, supported by eight Democrats in the House, would need to get through a Republican-controlled Senate and then be signed by the President to become law. 

Critics say the legislation would have the opposite effect and further tank an already weakened economy.

Coronavirus symptoms

The symptoms of coronavirus can be similar to the flu or a bad cold. Symptoms include a fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Some patients also have nausea, body aches, headaches and stomach issues. Losing your sense of taste and/or smell can also be an early warning sign.

Most healthy people will have mild symptoms. A study of more than 72,000 patients by the Centers for Disease Control in China showed 80 percent of the cases there were mild.

But infections can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death, according to the World Health Organization. Older people with underlying health conditions are most at risk for becoming seriously ill. However, U.S. experts are seeing a significant number of younger people being hospitalized, including some in ICU.

The CDC believes symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 14 days after being exposed.

Human coronaviruses are usually spread through...

  • The air by coughing or sneezing
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands.

Help stop the spread of coronavirus

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Eat and sleep separately from your family members
  • Use different utensils and dishes
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with your arm, not your hand.
  • If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash.
  • Follow social distancing

Lower your risk

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • If you are 60 or over and have an underlying health condition such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or respiratory illnesses like asthma or COPD, the World Health Organization advises you to try to avoid crowds or places where you might interact with people who are sick.

Get complete coverage of the coronavirus by texting 'FACTS' to 713-526-1111.

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