Federal Eviction Moratorium 

The Supreme Court ruled on August 26 to end the temporary stay on a lower court ruling seeking to overturn the federal eviction moratorium issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In doing so, the Supreme Court’s ruling invalidates the federal eviction moratorium, eliminating vital eviction protections that have kept millions of households – predominantly people of color – stably housed.

The federal eviction moratorium was a lifeline for millions of families, the last remaining federal protection keeping many safely and stably housed during the pandemic. The tragic, consequential, and entirely avoidable outcome of this ruling could be millions of people losing their homes this fall and winter, just as the delta variant ravages communities and lives.

What’s Next?

Our collective work to keep renters stably and safely housed is more important and urgent than ever. Immediate action must be taken at federal, state and local levels.

For Renters in Need of Assistance 

If you or someone you know needs emergency rental assistance:

  • Call 2-1-1 or visit www.211.org. 2-1-1 will connect you to a local call center that can share information about local programs that might be able to help.
  • Find your local rental assistance program using NLIHC’s database. More than 1,000 emergency rental assistance (ERA) programs have been created or expanded the pandemic, and Congress has provided $46 billion to help renters remain stably housed. If you haven’t yet, apply right away – it will take time for the money to get to you and your landlords.
  • Contact a legal aid attorney. Get further guidance from a legal aid attorney. A list of legal aid organizations can be found here and here.
  • Contact your representatives and senators. District office staff often know of available state/local resources, and it’s very important that your members of Congress hear about the housing challenges you are facing.

Immediate Federal Actions 

The Biden administration must immediately take every possible action to protect renters. HUD should implement an eviction moratorium for renters living in all federally assisted properties and FHFA should consider a moratorium for properties with a federally backed mortgage. The Department of Justice should direct courts to stop evictions for renters applying for ERA and urge courts to work with ERA programs to prioritize aid for those renters most at risk, and the Treasury Department should continue to eliminate barriers that prevent ERA programs from serving households in need.

Congress and the Biden administration must fix the gaps in our federal housing safety net – gaps that brought us to the brink of an eviction tsunami during a global pandemic – by quickly enacting long-term solutions in the infrastructure and economic recovery packages. Congress must enact the HoUSed campaign’s top priorities, including expanding rental assistance to all eligible households.

Immediate State and Local Action

With the Supreme Court striking down the eviction moratorium, state and local governments must take immediate action by:

  1. Creating or extending state and local eviction moratoriums. The newly surging Delta COVID-19 variant, low vaccination rates in communities with high eviction filings, and the slow rate of distributing ERA make the necessity of eviction moratoriums abundantly clear. Moratoriums will also provide state and local governments more time to ramp up their efforts to distribute emergency rental assistance to households in need.
  2. Quickly distributing emergency rental assistance. To date, about $5 billion of the $46 billion in emergency rental assistance provided by Congress has been spent. While some states and localities have made significant progress in distributing aid, most communities need to do more, better, and faster. State and local governments must work to ensure their ERA programs are visible, accessible, and preventive of evictions.
  3. Enacting additional renter protections. Other measures, such as right to counsel, expungement of eviction records, and just-cause eviction standards, can help protect renters now and in the long term.

Immediate ERA Program Administrator Action

With the possibility of state and local courts processing and hearing a greater number of eviction cases, it is crucial that attorneys, judges, justices of the peace and court staff are active partners in connecting landlords and tenants to the assistance they need. To improve access to ERA through state and local courts, ERA program administrators should immediately:

  1. Reduce burdensome documentation requirements.  In accordance with Treasury guidance, all ERA programs should use self-attestationscategorical eligibility criteria, and income-based proxies to determine eligibility.  Additionally, all programs should distribute assistance directly to tenants in cases where landlords are nonresponsive or uncooperative.
  2. Increase communication efforts in courts. States and local courts must act to ensure both tenants and landlords know about and have access to ERA.  ERA programs should develop relationships with attorneys, legal aid services, state and county judges, justice of the peace, and the local sheriff’s department to be active partners in connecting landlords and tenants to the assistance they need.  Courts should modify their summons information to include information on ERA and include ERA information, including links and how to apply, on court websites.
  3. Implement data sharing between courts and ERA.  Courts should develop a process to identify and stop the eviction process for cases where landlords who have applied for emergency rental assistance, have been made whole, but have not yet revoked the filing. 
  4. Be present in court.  Emergency rental assistance programs should have a presence in eviction courts, either in person or virtually, to provide information for both tenants and landlords who may not know about ERA. Ensure housing navigators in court for both tenants and landlords to provide navigation and application support.
  5. Fast track applications.  Emergency rental assistance programs should prioritize and fast track applications for tenants that are currently facing eviction and, in the queue, due to non-payment of rent as well as applications filed in court with court navigators.
  6. Increase staffing. ERA programs should utilize allowable ERA administrative and housing services allocations to hire additional staff to increase efficiency, support tenants in applications for successful completion, and decrease processing time.
  7. Contract with local community-based organizations.  ERA programs should contract with local community-based organizations to conduct outreach and engagement, provide housing navigation and application support and to distribute ERA funds to the most marginalized households.

Learn More

Join NLIHC’s national call on HoUSed: Universal, Stable, Affordable Housing every Monday at 2:30-4:00 pm ET to learn more about immediate actions you can take to keep renters safely and stably housed.

Thank you for your advocacy!