The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on August 3 a limited eviction moratorium covering renters living in communities experiencing a substantial or high level of COVID-19 transmission. The new moratorium, slated to extend until October 3, was announced after the CDC’s original moratorium was allowed to expire on July 31, leaving an estimated 6.5 million renter households currently behind on rent vulnerable to eviction. One day after the announcement of the new moratorium, the Alabama and Georgia Associations of Realtors petitioned the federal district court in DC to invalidate it.
The new moratorium would not have been possible without the extraordinary dedication of housing and homelessness advocates across the country and congressional champions – including Representative Cori Bush (D-MO), House Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters (D-CA), and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) – whose tireless efforts kept pressure on the Biden administration to take bold action to protect lives.
After the Biden administration stated on July 29 it would not extend the federal eviction moratorium, Speaker Pelosi and Chair Waters led a fierce campaign to enact legislation to extend the moratorium, but the measure failed to garner the support needed to pass the House. Representative Bush and other members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus staged rallies outside of the Capitol building to demand an extension of the moratorium and, along with Speaker Pelosi and Chair Waters, kept up their demands that the Biden administration use every authority to extend eviction moratorium protections for renters.
The new moratorium covers renters living in communities experiencing a substantial or high level of transmission of COVID-19, an estimated 90% of all renters. CDC issued an updated moratorium declaration, which renters must submit to their landlords to be protected, and clarified in the order that renters who have already submitted a declaration under the previous moratorium do not need to submit a new declaration to continue to receive protection. Renters lose protections under the moratorium once their community is no longer experiencing a substantial or high level of COVID-19 community transmission. The moratorium does not relieve renters from their obligation to pay rent; renters must still pay as much as they can.
The new moratorium was released a day after the Biden administration announced additional steps it will take to protect renters and prevent evictions during the pandemic, including those recommended by NLIHC and the National Housing Law Project in a joint letter to administration officials. These steps include:
- Directing federal agencies to consider all legal authorities to stop evictions
- Encouraging states and localities to establish or extend their own eviction moratoriums
- Calling on courts to stop eviction proceedings until renters and landlords first apply for emergency rental assistance (ERA)
- Directing federal housing agencies to ensure federally supported landlords apply for ERA rather than evicting renters
- Ensuring federal funds can be used to support eviction-prevention efforts by courts, legal aid, and housing counselors
Even with these vital steps, it is critical that state and local governments work quickly to distribute ERA funds and prioritize ERA to rehouse individuals and families who were evicted from their homes during the moratorium lapse. Most states and communities need to do much more to quickly distribute ERA to struggling renters and ensure programs are visible, accessible, and preventative of evictions. The CDC’s moratorium gives states and communities more time to ramp up their ERA programs, and they must use this time effectively to expedite assistance to households in need.
Read the CDC’s order at: https://tinyurl.com/uz9du4am
Access the CDC’s updated moratorium declaration at: https://tinyurl.com/e37xnyhs
Find out whether your county is experiencing a substantial or high rate of COVID-19 transmission at: https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view
Learn more about the eviction moratorium here.