Eviction Moratorium

Progressive Democrats Propose Eviction Moratorium Far More Sweeping Than the One the Supreme Court Struck Down

The Keeping Renters Safe Act would give bureaucrats a blank check to ban evictions during future outbreaks.

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When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the eviction moratorium imposed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it did so on the grounds that the agency's order had exceeded the authority given to it by Congress.

Progressive lawmakers are now trying to remedy that flaw with a bill far more sweeping than the CDC's defunct order. Their legislation also explicitly gives federal public health officials the power to issue eviction moratoriums during future disease outbreaks.

"Housing is a human right, not a bargaining chip to let fall between bureaucratic cracks," said Rep. Cori Bush (D–Mo.) when unveiling the Keeping Renters Safe Act of 2021.

The bill, which has been introduced in the Senate by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.), would halt "all residential eviction filings, hearings, judgments, and execution of judgments" until 60 days after the end of the federal public health emergency that the Trump administration declared in January 2020.

The CDC's moratorium only barred the physical removal of tenants for non-payment of rent. Landlords were still within their rights to file for evictions. They could also have tenants removed for reasons not related to non-payment, such as violating the terms of the lease, damaging the property, or creating a nuisance for other tenants.

The Keeping Renters Safe Act does allow the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to create exceptions to the eviction moratorium "protect the health and safety of others." But the bill doesn't require the HHS secretary to create those exceptions.

State-level moratoriums with narrow health and safety exceptions have put landlords in the position of housing legitimately dangerous and threatening tenants for months at a time.

That was the experience of Toni Akins, a small-time landlord who owns several units scattered across New England.

In May 2020, two of Akins' tenants stopped paying the $1,400 they owed in monthly rent on a home she owns in Plainfield, Connecticut. According to Akins, her tenants refused all efforts she made to work with them on a payment plan. The situation worsened over the next several months, with her tenants making threats against her. They sent "text messages that they were going to come to my home, that they were going to come get me. [They sent] pictures of them holding guns," she told Reason earlier this year.

Akins' initial attempt to evict her tenants for nonpayment of rent in September 2020 went nowhere because of an eviction moratorium imposed by Connecticut's Democratic governor, Ned Lamont. That rule limited evictions to cases where there was a "serious nuisance"—defined in state law as a tenant who inflicts bodily harm on another tenant or landlord, who willfully destroys the property, or who is using the property for selling drugs or prostitution.

After one of her tenants obtained a restraining order against the other in October, Akins filed for eviction again on the grounds that her tenant qualified as a serious nuisance. Still, the process took several months, with Atkins' tenant not agreeing to leave the property until March 2021. By that point, she says, he'd caused close to $24,000 in damages. "It took me about three months to clean up and repair and refurbish the property," she says.

If these lawmakers have their way, Connecticut's eviction regime would be applied across the country.

Their bill would also put federal public health officials in the position of being the nation's landlord during any future disease outbreak.

The Keeping Renters Safe Act would amend existing public health law to give the HHS secretary the explicit power to "implement, maintain, or extend" a residential eviction moratorium to stop the international or interstate spread of a communicable disease. That power isn't limited to stopping the spread of severe diseases like COVID-19. Some future HHS secretary would have the power to declare an eviction moratorium during a bad flu season, or even in response to the common cold.

When the Supreme Court struck down the last eviction moratorium in August, critics warned that the nation would soon see a wave of evictions.

So far, that wave hasn't materialized. Data from the states and cities tracked by Princeton University's EvictionLab generally show modest increases in evictions that are below historic averages almost everywhere. (Las Vegas is a notable exception.)

Writing in Slate, two EvictionLab researchers credit federally funded rent relief with keeping eviction rates low. That article also shows that eviction rates are higher in jurisdictions that are slower at getting rent relief out the door. But even in those places, eviction rates are hovering around historic averages.

Goldman Sachs' prediction that the country would see 750,000 evictions by year's end in the absence of a federal eviction moratorium is in line with what one would expect from a normal year.

That's still a lot of evictions. But a federal moratorium was never intended to be a long-term solution for keeping people housed. Even in the worst of the pandemic, the CDC's order was a blunt tool. Warren and Bush's bill would make it blunter, while also giving public health bureaucrats a blank check to use it at any time in the future.

NEXT: Could Classical Liberalism Win Big in Germany?

Eviction Moratorium Congress CDC Department of Health and Human Services Elizabeth Warren

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98 responses to “Progressive Democrats Propose Eviction Moratorium Far More Sweeping Than the One the Supreme Court Struck Down

  1. “Housing is a human right

    Bullshit.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9-R8T1SuG4

    George Carlin on rights -Brilliant!

    1. I’d say being allowed to build your own housing is a basic human right, but what do I know?

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  2. Step 1: Pass a law banning evictions during a public health “emergency” during a declared public health emergency.
    Step 2: Never declare and end to the declared public health emergency.

    Cori Bush and Elizabeth Warren just solved homelessness. And all it took was destroying private property rights.

    1. Damned Kulaks

  3. Progressives plan to break the rental housing market and make renting completely unaffordable. Bravo.

    1. Or possibly even eliminate the rental housing sector altogether.

      1. Government buyout of landlords after none of them can make their payments to their creditors.

  4. A neighbor had a tenant that didn’t pay his rent for a year and a half. That was pre pandemic. It takes forever to throw someone out. Maybe the mafia will make a comeback seeing how the state is not only ineffectual but down right hostile to property rights.

  5. If housing is a human right, then they should get cracking on making private property illegal across the board.

    It’s all a joke though, since apparently health care is also a human right and yet they haven’t nationalized every medical professional in the country yet.

    And to be clear, this isn’t me saying either of those things are even remotely a good idea but if they actually believe those things they certainly aren’t showing it. And making things a human right that other humans have to provide at the end of a gun isn’t freedom, it’s ultimately state sanctioned slavery.

    1. It’s the Four Freedoms view of rights.

      “You’re free to speak and exercise your religion but government is free to take whatever is yours to prevent ‘want’ of others. Also, something about arms control.”-FDR

      1. FDR should have been more worried about leg control.

    2. they should get cracking on making private property illegal across the board

      It has been done before. And by a guy they called Uncle Joe.

      During the first five-year plan, Stalin’s all-out campaign to take land ownership and organization away from the peasantry meant that peasants with a couple of cows or five or six acres more than their neighbors were labeled kulaks. However, in 1929, Soviet officials officially classified kulaks according to subjective criteria, such as the use of hired labour. Under dekulakization, government officials seized farms and killed some resisters, deported others to labor camps, and drove many others to migrate to the cities following the loss of their property to the collectives.

      Eek! Don’t hire someone to mow the lawn at your rental property.

      1. Same pattern repeatedly. China’s great leap forward, Zimbabwe’s Land redistribution, the examples keep going. Every time millions die.

        1. But it’s never really been tried before….

        2. [Every time millions die.]
          But it’s never the government’s fault. (/sarc)

  6. Cori Bush is free to pay the rent of the deadbeats that choose not to.
    Cori Bush is also free to pay for permanent housing for anyone that is too triggered to pay their rent.

    1. You say that, but Cori Bush really wants to do that. Just with your money.

  7. Seriously, is this merely an outrage click generator, or is this something that has a chance of passing. I need to reserve some energy.

    1. Save your energy. Joe Friday will be by later to continue to debate in bad faith; you’ll need some strength to follow all the changing topics and goalposts being moved.

    2. Outrage generator or not, the Overton Window now has no bounds. Maybe it won’t pass today, but it will pass some day. It’s now just a matter of time.

      1. Too bad we can’t vote these people out of office.

        1. Can’t vote them out, they’re bringing home the pork! In this case, the pork is a permanent rent moratorium.

        2. Yeah, the media kept feeding people the mantra “Orange man bad, orange man bad.” Now, look at what we got, a senile socialist that might kill off mom and pop rental owners and his trusty social justice VP sidekick.

    3. Seriously. Fuck these people.

  8. Under such an environment why would anyone ever rent ever again?

    I have a friend who lives in Berkeley, who has long since STOPPED renting his available units. He lives in the attached house, so he can’t really sell it. But he sure as hell can stop renting the available units out. It’s been like fifteen years now. One reason student housing is so outrageously expensive in Berkeley (and other college towns) is that no one wants to rent to students without enough rent to make the legal danger worthwhile.

    1. They already have a proposed solution to that: a tax on vacant units. They’ll keep jacking it higher and higher until it makes sense again to rent your units.

      They’re not forcing you, see. It’s all voluntary. It’s entirely your decision whether you want to face that tax or not. [innocent blinking of eyes]

      A halfway decent SCOTUS would hammer the Feds into submission on this with the Takings Clause… but what do the Feds care, really? They’ll just pay the cash with my grandkids’ money and call it Modern Monetary Theory.

  9. >>Housing is a human right

    if you are in a tent you are housed.

    1. Yeah, but there was an article just a few days ago showing how badly the government can fuck that up, too.

      1. Right; those tents run about $60K a year; that’s how the government does it

  10. A guy from a charity recently visited the house collecting for the homeless. I didn’t have any money to give him. But I had recently purchased a large chest freezer so I gave him the cardboard box it shipped in.

  11. It’s none of the government’s damn business what my contracts say.

    1. contracts are legal documents. When one of the parties violates a provision, I’m sure that the sternly worded letter you send will make all the difference. Govt is not entirely without its uses.

      1. Government power is now so far beyond the mere enforcement of contracts that it’s not even the same entity.

        Watching the Godfather and thinking, “Gosh, if that’s all our government did we would be in Libertopia! Bust a few kneecaps, knock off a few rivals, pay the protection money, and they leave you alone. Government should be so minimal.”

        1. “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.” CS Lewis

  12. Progressive Democrats need to do something about the Biden administration’s bare naked racism against Haitians. I’m not sure why Haitian refugees are being treated so differently from Cubans or the asylum seekers from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. I guess the Biden administration just doesn’t want black people emigrating to the United States!

    For those of you who haven’t seen, the photograph (below) of Biden’s ICE agents running down Haitians from horseback–like they’re chasing down runaway slaves–is making the rounds on social media. The optics on it couldn’t be worse. It’s hard to tell whether they’re wielding those reigns like a weapon or using them like they’re about to drag someone off.

    https://twitter.com/AFP/status/1440696109362417674

    A picture is worth a thousand words.

    1. In related news, . . .

      “Daniel Foote, the US special envoy for Haiti, has handed in his resignation to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, saying he will “not be associated with the United States inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees” from the US-Mexico border.

      He adds that the US policy approach to Haiti remains “deeply flawed.”

      —-CNN

      CNN doesn’t want to use the word “racist” in association with the Biden administration, but that’s what we’re talking about.

      Looks to me like this guy is resigning because he doesn’t want to be associated with the Biden administration’s racist policies towards Haitians.

      1. Ken, you’re being unkind. The Biden administration has initiated policies to be more compassionate. Did Biden drone strike any of these refugees? Has the Capitol Police murdered any of them tor trespassing?

        1. Drones with heart emojis were selected as being less traumatic for operators.

          1. Missiles with inclusive gay flags painted on them.

    2. Kind of odd that all these migrant Haitians wound up in Texas, of all places. Was there not a more circuitous route for them to take? And progs don’t give a shit about racism, not in the sense that normal people might.

      1. They’re following the “wet foot, dry foot” policies we used with Cubans for decades. If the Coast Guard intercepts them at sea (wet foot), they get sent back where they came from, and if the asylum seeker makes it to Mexico and then walks to the border with Texas (dry foot), they get an asylum hearing.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wet_feet,_dry_feet_policy#Changes_in_immigration_patterns

        1. Well personally I’m shocked the refugees are always one step ahead of the government.

          1. Well, the Haitians were mistaken, in this case, because no matter what the law says, it appears the Biden administration is sending them back to Haiti for being . . . um . . .

    3. That is worse than the one of Jimmy Carter, in a canoe on a body of water, attacking a rabbit with an oar that was swimming towards him.
      Liberal arts college history professors will still vote for him on “Best President” beauty pageant polls.

      1. Look, that rabbit’s got a vicious streak a mile wide! It’s a killer!

        1. First season of South Park. “It’s coming right for us!!!!!”

        2. Was it the Rabbit of Caerbannog?

      2. “That is worse than the one of Jimmy Carter, in a canoe on a body of water, attacking a rabbit with an oar that was swimming towards him.”
        Jimmy got off easy….

        “Night of the Lepis
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GmrvH3PYnEc

        1. The local press hare-assed him a hare.

    4. Silly Ken, Democrats can’t be racist.

      Seriously though, from what I’ve seen, amazingly, the media seems outraged by the photo, but are just using it to demonize border patrol agents, and not the administration.

      1. Funny how that works.

        We’re early in this process. At some point, when the shit gets piled up high enough, they’ll start blaming Biden–but not the Democrats.

        Biden probably won’t hang on for long after the midterms, and if he fails to push the budget reconciliation bill through, it may come before the midterms.

        They’ll start blaming Pelosi too.

        1. Biden will be kept on until after the midterms.

          If Harris serves less than two years of Biden’s term she can be reelected twice more. If more than two years, she’s out after one complete term.

      2. Idiots blame the arm of the law. You should always blame the head of law.

      3. Rather like spitting on soldiers for what LBJ and McNamara forced them to do.

    5. If I’ve missed a serious video or something let me know, but all pictures I’ve seen depict BP riders at a canter at most, twirling reins defensively or to strike their own horse for response.

      Grabbing the dude from horseback is sketch, but perceivably within the scope of arresting the escape of an illegal immigrant, and I’ve heard no reports of any migrant actually being harmed.

      But it makes for a great scapegoat for public ire in the face of the greatest mass deportation in decades to a known disaster site.

      1. Anything can be rationalized, but progressives aren’t supposed to rationalize shit like that.

        The trick is to put them in a position where they need to choose between rationalizing an awful situation like that or conceding that this behavior was racist on their watch. I know people on the right are used to playing defense on issues like this, but now it’s time to play offense. The only way for them to win, here, is to fail to push them to respond.

        Which is it, President Biden? Are you responsible for this racist policy and all its associated ugliness caught on camera? Or will you just rationalize it all away? Either way he loses. It’s time for the progressives and the Democrats to eat their own shit. They are not holier than anybody on any issue, and their phony posturing about being morally superior on issues like racism needs to be exposed.

        The Democrats don’t want blacks from Haiti washing up on the beaches of Florida near their most important donors, so the Biden administration is doing everything they can to discourage Haitians from leaving Haiti in the first place. They’re racists. Their policy is racist–especially compared to their stance on asylum seekers from Northern Triangle countries–and the Democrats need to be called out on their disgusting racism.

        1. I’m not playing politics; that dishonest goal-centric rhetoric is how we got here. I’m not seeing the level of messed up from the agents that’s being ascribed to them here, and it ain’t right to shoehorn a scapegoat to prove a point. Beyond moral issues, it undermines your ultimate goal.

          Just because Dims are racist doesn’t make BP agents into Dims.

          1. Playing politics with the truth is perfectly appropriate. There’s nothing dishonest about it. The Democrats do not have a monopoly on calling out racism, and they have never been above charges of racist behavior. They’re guilty of racism in all sorts of ways, and it’s always been that way. If the the Democrats’ enemies fail to call them out for their racism, that’s a shame. And I’m certainly not about to ignore Biden’s objectively racist policies just because the Democrats sometimes cry wolf.

            If the Biden administration wants to deny racism is at the heart of this, they should say so, and if the Democrats are being racist, they should be called out for it. If they want to rationalize these objectively racist policies, they should be free to do that, too. Their racism is disgusting whether we call it out or not, and if you imagine that the progressives will stop falsely accusing their enemies of racism–if only we ignore the progressives’ racist behavior–you’re nuts.

            1. Democrats are objectively racist in the way their city councils protect the police from accountability in places like Chicago, Minneapolis, and New York City. The Democrats were objectively racist in their support for the drug war–for many, many years. The Democrats are objectively racist in their opposition to school choice, which, disproportionately, keeps minority children trapped in awful public schools. We haven’t even started talking about what raising the minimum wage does to minority unskilled workers. That the Biden administration is racist in its enforcement of asylum law shouldn’t surprise anybody. There is no good reason for libertarian capitalists to give the progressives a free pass on their disgusting racism. We should be crucifying them with it.

          2. It’s not that the BP are racist or Dims themselves, it’s that they’re enforcing a policy set out by racist Dims.

      2. Just for the record, . . .

        “DEL RIO, Texas—The Biden administration has begun sending many of the approximately 16,000 migrants who have overwhelmed this small city in recent days to their home country of Haiti, including some who haven’t lived in the impoverished island nation for years.

        . . . .

        Administration officials said the flights were necessary to break a cycle of Haitian citizens migrating to the U.S. They said they hoped that once deported citizens land in Haiti, word of their arrival would spread quickly through social media and deter more from attempting to enter the U.S., according to people familiar with their thinking.

        —-WSJ

        What is it about Haitians that makes the Biden administration treat them differently than they treat asylum seekers from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras? Whatever it is, the Biden administration really doesn’t want Haitians coming here.

        1. Haitians hate the Clintons, for one.

          And also for the record, largest mass deportation in decades. Beats the pants off Trump.

          1. Why do Haitians hate the Clintons?

            “When Bill Clinton became president in 1993, he continued Bush’s policy [returning all Haitians to Haiti regardless of their status]. He argued that prohibiting the immigration of Haitian refugees would prevent many Haitians from drowning in an attempted ocean crossing.

            Clinton pledged to work to restore President Aristide to office, saying that Aristide’s return would end the refugee crisis. In the meantime, the issue of the alleged American violation of the Geneva Convention on Refugees came before the U.S. Supreme Court. The Clinton administration argued that the Geneva agreement applied only to aliens who had already managed to reach U.S. soil, not to those intercepted on the open sea by the Coast Guard. In 1993, the Supreme Court agreed (by a vote of 8-1) with the government’s position. It said that the treaty did not “say anything at all about a nation’s actions toward aliens outside its own territory.” [Sale v. Haitian Centers Council]

            After numerous negotiations and the threat of an American invasion, the Clinton administration got Aristide restored to power in 1994.

            http://www.crfimmigrationed.org/lessons-for-teachers/148-hl9

            Why are the Haitians in Texas being treated differently from other asylum seekers–from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras? It isn’t because the Haitians were intercepted at sea by the Coast Guard. Biden was claiming it’s because of Covid-19, but the federal courts struck that down. He has another week and a half to appeal. I wonder what rationalization he’ll use next. If we keep the pressure on the Biden administration, sooner or later, the explanation will become, “FUTW!”

            1. I was referring to the Clinton Foundation’s banditry with the reconstruction of the island.

      3. I’m confident that being run down by a horse is scary as hell. I have some sympathy.

        1. Being run down by someone on horseback is intimidating when you’re in a row of soldiers armed with pikes. That Haitian asylum seeker was armed with a small bag of food in each hand.

        2. Since we missed terminology here, a canter is basically a brisk walk for horses. Riders predominantly are pictured ahead of Haitians, moving their horses sideways to obstruct them.

          Functionally, it reminded me of running cattle.

    6. Get a clue, Ken,
      It isn’t racism that has Senile Zhou sending the mounted border patrol after Haitians, is is because Haitians are less likely to vote for the LieCheatSteal party, as are the “asylum” seekers from Central America.
      Its the same with Cubans, who the idiot Mayorcas told not to come, and the SIV holders, and others who assisted our military, in Afghanistan. He didn’t want them to come, either, but he did bring the freeloaders that swarmed the Kabul airport.
      None of this is by accident. The evil intentions are easy to see.
      The replacement of the American electorate must be with socialistic-inclined peoples, or else all is lost for the great reset.

  13. Use the Civilian Climate Corps to build affordable, eco friendly housing for folks who can’t or won’t pay their rent. After a few years, bulldoze the ruins with battery powered dozers, and rebuild. Steady work for the new CCC.

  14. They’re either economically illiterate or they’re hoping their respective bases are.

    1. go with the ‘and.’

  15. “”Housing is a human right, not a bargaining chip to let fall between bureaucratic cracks,”‘

    Uh. No. And a special “NO” when it’s MY house.

    1. Hey now, let’s just go ahead and shoehorn those folks into her place.

  16. I see this as a positive stimulation of a receding portion of the private economy.

    Now that we cannot rely on the gov’t to enforce laws, regulations or personal property standards, we can begin to renew the presence of the underappreciated kneecappers, strongarm mooks, thugs, rousters and riffraff to shake deadbeats down.

    Just think how much we can save! Bullets are expensive these days, but they’re cheaper than cops. More money for social workers!

  17. The members of the Constitutional Convention were obviously not big thinkers. The worst they could imagine was the government quartering troops in your home.

  18. I’m not sure I have that much of a problem with this provided that any such moratorium qualifies as a taking under the 5th Amendment for the duration of the moratorium regardless of whether the land owner receives rent or not.

    1. Oh, it would also be nice if the compensation for the taking necessarily came from the HHS and/or CDC budget depending on the controlling agency. Ideally it would come from the salary of the legislators who voted to approve the legislation but I’m sure they have qualified immunity or some such.

  19. ANY EXCUSE TO STEAL………………….. Is found at the root of every move by the Democrats. If [WE] can’t just OWN SLAVES we’ll just pretend we don’t have slaves while robbing them blind with Gov-Guns.

  20. Do the Progressives/ Socialist have a provision in their legislation that: 1. Precludes foreclosures of landlords who are unable to pay their mortgage due to nonpayment of rent by tenants with no rights to evict? 2. Provide grants and or waiver to landlords who are unable to make repairs or maintenance due to nonpayment of rent by tenants with no rights to evict? 3. Provide property tax holiday to landlords who are unable to pay property taxes due to nonpayment of rent by tenants with no rights to evict? 4. Require tenants who receive rental assistance or some other forms of assistance that is designated for payment of rent to actually pay the money to the landlord? 5. Guarantee that landlords will have a home/housing if tenants fail to pay rent and there are no rights to eviction? They don’t have to live in a car if tenants will not vacate or can not be evicted for nonpayment of rent. 6. Require some level of effort if not success in finding employment by tenants that seek eviction protection.

  21. This is getting nuts. The military or somebody has to step up and stop it. It’s that or immanentize the eschaton.

  22. Does anyone have any example of the spread of a communicable disease by means of an eviction?

    1. It may have led to a spike that was capable of wiping out trillions of people. I haven’t heard of any, but there’s no real basis for just about any of the panic porn the msm has been trading in for the last 5 years.

  23. Not ‘progressive democrats’, fascists.

    1. Yeah, same thing.

  24. Such a law would have some consequences. Likely among them would be an increase in the use of “offers that cannot be refused”. There might even be a potential business opportunity open up for people with certain skills in “negotiation”.

    I’m sure the number of rental units on the market wouldn’t go down as result of such a law. Or maybe, if it did, would that indicate that the federal government needed to become the nations largest landlord?

  25. “Housing is a human right, not a bargaining chip to let fall between bureaucratic cracks,”

    Ok, fine. Let’s grant them that. Whatever.

    We can (in theory) build a bunch of cheap trailer parks on the outskirts of NYC, or whatever city they’re in. Hell, we can even throw in subsidized bus rides that take them to the nearest subway station so that they can get to their jobs. Hell, we can even give them free job training so they can do their own plumbing and/or drive the bus and/or help assemble their pre fab housing.

    So, ok, you have a right to live in **a** house; but not **any** house or apartment you feel like, whether you own or rent it.

  26. Have we forgotten what happened in the South Bronx? Landlords with their backs to the wall found arson the only way out. People died. We surely don’t want that to happen again.