Housing Policy

The CDC Eviction Moratorium Is Extended for a 4th Time

The federal government's ban on the removal of non-paying tenants was supposed to expire on June 30. It'll now run through July 31.

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In response to mounting pressure from progressive lawmakers and tenant advocates, the Biden administration has once again extended the federal government's eviction moratorium for another month.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a historic threat to the nation's public health. Keeping people in their homes and out of crowded or congregate settings—like homeless shelters—by preventing evictions is a key step in helping to stop the spread of COVID-19," said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in a statement today.

Today's order extends the moratorium until July 31. The CDC said in a statement that this is intended to be the final extension of its eviction ban.

The CDC first issued a partial ban on evictions back in September 2020 under former President Donald Trump. The moratorium was originally supposed to last through the end of 2020. It has since been extended three times; once by Congress in December 2020, and twice by the Biden administration in January and March 2021.

The moratorium prohibits the eviction of tenants for non-payment of rent provided they sign hardship declarations saying that they've lost income, employment, or suffered unexpected medical expenses and that their removal would result in them moving into a more crowded living situation. Any individual making up to $99,000 a year (or joint filers making up to $198,000) is eligible for its protection.

A perennial concern among supporters of the CDC's moratorium, and a reason for its continual extension, is that a "wave" of evictions would follow its expiration, as newly liberated landlords move en masse to give delinquent tenants the boot.

In a Tuesday letter to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, 44 U.S. representatives, all Democrats, urged her to extend the eviction ban "to prevent a historic wave of evictions and keep renters safely in their homes."

"Allowing the moratorium to expire before vaccination rates increase in marginalized communities could lead to increased spread of, and deaths from, COVID-19," they continued.

A March 2021 report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that eviction moratoriums do, unsurprisingly, reduce evictions. It also found that evictions were below historic averages in places without moratoriums during the pandemic.

That's because landlords generally don't have an incentive to evict otherwise good tenants who are behind on their bills during down economic times, given the cost and uncertainty of finding a replacement, says Salim Furth, a researcher at George Mason University's Mercatus Center.

But "if we're getting back to normal, then evictions, like everything else, will get back to normal. If the moratoria go away," he says, "there might be a temporary jump as landlords who've wanted to get rid of people do so."

The last two COVID-19 relief bills have collectively authorized $46 billion for rent relief that was supposed to negate the need for an eviction moratorium. Tenants would use this money to pay the back rent they accrued during the pandemic and landlords would no longer have an incentive to evict them.

But the slow, troubled implementation of this rent relief has thrown a wrench into the plan. The states and localities responsible for distributing aid have generally had to set up their own programs from scratch, producing confusion and technical difficulties along the way.

When New York launched its federally funded rental assistance program earlier this month, for instance, tenants were greeted with crashing web application pages, while landlords were asked to provide tenant information they didn't have.

Some 60 percent of respondents in a recent survey of emergency rental assistance administrators said a lack of staff was a significant barrier to getting funds out the door, while 49 percent said their technical ability to scale up these programs was posing major issues. About half of respondents said that a lack of responsiveness from landlords and/or tenants was also slowing implementation.

According to some advocates, the rocky rollout of rent relief necessitates another extension of the CDC's eviction moratorium so that these programs can get up and effectively running.

Extending the ban is "critical to ensuring that state and local governments have the time to properly design, implement, and scale up the distribution of ERA to renters at risk of losing their homes," said National Low Income Housing Coalition President Diane Yentel in a June 14 letter to Biden administration officials.

Some landlords counter that maintaining the eviction moratorium is driving down participation in rent relief programs, particularly given the technical barriers to accessing assistance.

Kathy Howard, of Baltimore-area property management company Regional Management, told Reason earlier this month that about 100 of her company's 5,000 tenants are neither paying rent nor trying to sign up for rent relief. "Those people tend to concern us very deeply because they don't appear to be accessing these programs and they are not talking to us either," she said.

The Washington Post had a story about tenants in Hyattsville, Maryland, who—protected by an eviction moratorium and frustrated with the slow release of relief funds—have gone on a rent strike.

The continual extension of the federal eviction moratorium does give more time for numerous legal challenges to play out. The most recent ruling on these cases came from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which issued a ruling in favor of the legality of the moratorium.

One landlord group suing to overturn the CDC's eviction moratorium has already asked the Supreme Court to take up the case.

The original justification for a nationwide eviction moratorium was that it would prevent millions of out-of-work renters from being evicted in the middle of a deadly pandemic when they should be sheltering at home. The availability of both rent relief and vaccines seems to cut against the idea that this kind of blanket limitation on landlords' property rights is still necessary.

Furth says there are a lot of things local policymakers can do to smooth the return to a normal, post-pandemic, housing market, from facilitating arbitration between landlords and tenants to using federal relief funds to pay down rent debt. Blanket bans on evictions are a blunt tool, he says.

"What a lot of people want to do is use this crisis to deal with a long-standing problem, which was a high rate of evictions," says Furth. "A moratorium is never going to be a solution to a place with a high rate of evictions."

NEXT: Biden Tells States To Use COVID-19 Relief Funds To Hire Cops

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  1. One landlord group suing to overturn the CDC’s eviction moratorium has already asked the Supreme Court to take up the case.

    What difference, at this point, does it make? The only check on the power of the state at this point is officials’ willingness to abide by the decisions of the courts forestalling their power grabs. And you’re a fool if you believe there’s a majority of officials who give a shit about what a toothless court might rule.

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  2. “”Allowing the moratorium to expire before vaccination rates increase in marginalized communities could lead to increased spread of, and deaths from, COVID-19,” they continued.”

    Sounds like a good excuse for those renting in marginalized communities to avoid getting vaccinated.

    1. Not paying rent keeps you safe!

    2. I’m sorry, but what marginalized communities do not have access to the vaccine at this point? If anyone wants to get the jab, they can easily get it. This is nothing more than a segregationist talking point. There will be no end to the pandemic if the CRT crowd get their way.

  3. “Keeping people in their homes and out of crowded or congregate settings—like homeless shelters—by preventing evictions is a key step in helping to stop the spread of COVID-19,”

    This is such nonsense reasoning, expecially since so many things are open right now. If you released the memorandum tomorrow it would not make a single difference in the spread of Covid 19.

    1. Indeed! How many people have voluntarily moved, with the spike in home buying and relocation? The sanctity of contracts and property rights has been fully violated with this unjust ban on contract enforcement…which is justified by the other assault on the rights that was the selective business shutdown. Even if this association was valid, a huge proportion of tenants were not unemployed by the shutdowns, or if they were they have received compensation. Landlord’s property rights and contracts have been thrown out with the trash….and now the proposed answer is more and more billions of debt funded unearned “:relief.”

  4. While many articles have been written documenting how the US government’s so-called covid relief checks encouraged millions of workers to quit their jobs and discouraged millions of workers from returning to work, nobody has yet exposed how CDC’s rent moratorium has further encouraged workers to quit their jobs and discouraged them from returning to work.

    When the federal government gives lots of tax dollars (which increased the federal deficit and debt) to tens of millions of Americans while cancelling rent payments for many of those same people, nobody should be surprised that millions of new job openings continue to go unfilled.

    1. So reasonable and rational, cause and effect; one might suspect you a bring a Euro-centric white supremacist.

      I’ll be you also have a sense of urgency and an air of objectivity about you.

      1. Worse…he probably asserts that 2+2 = 4.

        1. Thats wypipo math.

  5. “‘Evictions take lives and push households deeper into poverty, impacting everything from health outcomes to educational attainment,’ they said.”

    From the linked article, so essentially idiots like Cori Bush and Ayanna Pressley intend to keep this going forever. I said before this is all stealth UBI and it’s not going to end. We are fucked.

      1. The feds have no constitutional authority to interfere in a private contractual matter. Unfortunately the only way to stop them is by-removing the rent thieves by force. Thus forcing a 2A showdown.

  6. The most recent ruling on these cases came from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which issued a ruling in favor of the legality of the moratorium.

    The CDC can regulate national renter policy. I’m good with it.

    1. Well if they can do that, what’s next? Gun ownership? Why the hell not? It’s literally a pathogen, according to them.

      1. That’s the plan.

  7. Serious question, let’s pretend for just a moment that one could sympathize with an eviction moratorium, why wouldn’t HUD do this? Why is the agency that’s supposed to shut down the Broad Street Pump doing this?

  8. Glad I sold my rental house a few years ago.

  9. Christ – the government can’t even give away free money.

    1. It’s still early yet, but I’m nominating that for best comment of the day.

  10. “ “The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a historic threat to the nation’s public health. Keeping people in their homes and out of crowded or congregate settings—like homeless shelters—by preventing evictions is a key step in helping to stop the spread of COVID-19,” said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in a statement today.”

    Bullshit. They’re just using that as an excuse to buy democrat votes with landlord money.

    For shame!

  11. “…One landlord group suing to overturn the CDC’s eviction moratorium has already asked the Supreme Court to take up the case…”

    How many divisions does the SCOTUS have?

    1. The U.S. Army currently consists of 10 active divisions and one deployable division headquarters (7th Infantry Division) as well as several independent units.

  12. Don’t blame me, I didn’t vote for either candidate who supported this.

  13. Defund the CDC.

  14. Ah, I love the smell of freedom, property rights, and capitalism in the morning. Are yall enjoying your lives in the land of the free and the home of the brave today? Truly, there is no more free country than America.

  15. I keep looking at The Constitution to find the place that it says that the national health department has ANY authority over private transactions between tenant and landlord.

    1. It’s right after the right to abortion on demand, and just before allowing asset forfeiture without even an arrest.

    2. Well, you see, um, healthcare is a form of interstate commerce… so getting healthcare (or not getting healthcare) is participating in that commerce so ergo it’s fair game for federal control.

      I’m only like… 10% joking.

  16. The crystal ball flashes, and the snow begins to settle, and lo, I can see the future in 5 acts just like a play:
    (1) government declares a crisis that it will not allow to go to waste
    (2) government closes business and jobs go away (but it does give out money to favored recipients)
    (3) poor people with only government money cannot pay exorbitant rents, and to protect them governments halts evictions
    (4) rental property owners go broke, unable to service debt or pay taxes on rental property that is making no rent
    (5) family of dear departed free-loading renter/squatter laments that “who would have thought the landlord who has lost everything and been reduced to bankruptcy/abject poverty would exercise a right of private action against the dead ne’er-do-well?”.

  17. Since the amount the tenants owe continues to pile up, how long long before we see liberals pushing for ‘rent relief.’
    I’m so glad I sold my rental house before all this nonsense started.

  18. … And you thought that property you worked 30-years for was yours… lol….

    What’s that I smell; National Socialism – “Far Left” Nazism.

  19. The Center for Disease Control and Non-public Housing

  20. The owners of the complexes where these people live are going to need to get their rent monies from their tenets or they are going to lose those properties. Those places incur expenses that need to be paid or the services will be shut off. Then the tenets will be without water and electricity. No heat, no AC, no refrigerator. I have several of my favorite local businesses now forever out of business, including my favorite restaurant, because the government makes it impossible to stay in business. The tenets are going to suffer eviction for nonpayment sooner or later. My neighbor has several rental houses. So far the tenets have trashed two of them to the point they are condemned, but people still live in them. My neighbor told me the cost of restoration is prohibitive, and she has contracted to have them torn down and the trash removed. She fully expects those lots to become homeless tent cities.

    1. George tenet deserves to suffer

  21. Another massive problem created by government, and it was completely obvious and avoidable from the start. Once i believed that the law would uphold property rights and contracts…now they are the biggest abuser with no respect for our basic rights. First they execute unjust selective shutdowns, then they offer selective massively costly “relief” and excess debt-funded unemployment, and all the while put the shaft to property owners and stomp on contracts. Then they keep kicking the can down the road while the problem they created snowballs.

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