Eviction Moratorium Extended Again, Focus Turns to Rental Assistance
As the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) national eviction moratorium expired on July 31, many tenants and their landlords wondered what would happen next. Some individual States had taken the initiative to extend their own statewide eviction bans (such as New York) for a period of time extending after the CDC order was due to expire, and Congress explored its options to extend the nationwide ban, which didn’t pan out. The Biden Administration received immense pressure from legislators to extend the existing CDC ban with its powers, but the Administration resisted with likely Supreme Court challenges waiting in the wings.
After several days of uncertainty for those impacted by the expired ban, the CDC issued a new eviction ban through October 3, limiting action to areas experiencing “substantial” and “high” spread rates of COVID-19. Today, this includes over 85 percent of U.S. counties. The decision sparked reactions from both sides of the issue, from landlords to tenant advocates.
Greg Brown, senior vice president of government affairs for the National Apartment Association (NAA), which characterized the new ban as an unfunded government mandate and has filed lawsuits against the federal government to recover damages for rental housing owners, told NPR, "If we don't make housing providers whole, the future of housing in this country, rental housing in this country becomes even further jeopardized."
A coalition of national industry trade organizations, including the NAA, the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC), and the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), responded in opposition to the move:
“The recent CDC order will leave rental housing providers in legal limbo while many renters continue to accrue more and more back rent and face a mounting debt cliff. Further, a continued moratorium fails to deliver the needed solutions to address the underlying financial distress faced by renters and puts the overall stability of the rental housing sector and broader real estate market in peril.”
For tenant advocates, the new moratorium represents an extended lifeline. Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, said in a statement to NPR, "This is a tremendous relief for millions of people who were on the cusp of losing their homes and, with them, their ability to stay safe during the pandemic."
Both sides do agree on their concern over the slow allocation of $46.5 billion in rental assistance funds, with only about $3 billion having been dispersed to date.
The housing industry coalition members added, “The best way to help struggling renters is for the Administration to work with Congress, states and localities to help disburse rental assistance funds to residents and housing providers in need. Our organizations are committed to working with the Administration and Congress to ensure that the emergency rental assistance program is a success, to help our residents regain housing stability and to preserve the viability of the rental housing sector.”
Tenants can access state-run resources for rental assistance funds below: