Over 2,000 Organizations Join NLIHC Letter Urging the Incoming Biden Administration to Extend, Improve, and Enforce the Federal Eviction Moratorium

Over 2,000 national, state, and local organizations and elected leaders joined NLIHC’s January 15 letter calling on President-elect Biden, HUD Secretary-designate Marcia Fudge, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director-designate Dr. Rochelle Walensky to extend the federal moratorium on evictions for nonpayment of rent and address the moratorium’s shortcomings by improving and enforcing the order.

The eviction moratorium provides vital protections to renters at risk of eviction during the pandemic, and by doing so has helped keep stably housed millions of people who would otherwise face eviction. While these protections are desperately needed, the moratorium is currently slated to expire on January 31 and, in its current form, has significant shortcomings that undermine the order’s intent.  

The letter calls on the incoming Biden administration to extend the moratorium until the end of the pandemic and to strengthen the moratorium by making its protections automatic and universal. The letter also urges the incoming administration to rescind the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document issued by the CDC on October 9 (see Memo, 10/13/20). The FAQ undermines the intent of the moratorium and erodes protections for renters by creating loopholes in the moratorium’s protections, allowing landlords to serve eviction notices and file eviction lawsuits as long as households are not removed from their homes until the moratorium expires. The FAQ also allows landlords to challenge the validity of tenants’ moratorium declarations. The letter states that these changes “serve to mislead, pressure, scare, or intimidate renters into leaving sooner and may result in a flood of families being evicted from their homes in February.”

Additionally, despite the moratorium imposing criminal penalties on landlords who violate it, the Department of Justice (DOJ) under the Trump administration has not enforced the penalties and has provided no means of recourse for tenants to report landlords violating the moratorium’s provisions. The letter urges the Biden administration to create a hotline number renters can use to file complaints and to direct the DOJ to enforce the moratorium.

Read the letter at: https://tinyurl.com/y5z7u9xv