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Trump Administration Issues CDC Eviction Moratorium Guidance to Benefit Landlords over Renters

The Trump administration issued on October 9 harmful new guidance on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) eviction moratorium for nonpayment of rent. The guidance grants landlords additional power and creates new burdens for renters seeking moratorium protections.

The CDC instated on September 4 a moratorium on evictions for nonpayment of rent for tenants who meet certain eligibility criteria and who submit a signed declaration of eligibility to their landlord. While the new guidance does not rescind this vital protection, it allows landlords to challenge tenant declarations and allows landlords to initiate eviction proceedings for nonpayment of rent at any time, although an actual eviction of a covered tenant cannot take place until the moratorium expires on January 1, 2021.

Allowing landlords to challenge declarations of eligibility shifts the burden of gathering paperwork and evidence to renters struggling to remain stably housed during the pandemic. Moreover, permitting landlords to initiate eviction proceedings – even when covered renters cannot be evicted until the moratorium ends – provides landlords new opportunity to intimidate tenants who are behind on their rent and pressure tenants to vacate their homes sooner.

NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel tweeted in response to the guidance: “Why would a landlord want to start eviction proceedings in October for an eviction that can’t happen until January? Answer: to pressure/scare/intimidate renters into leaving sooner. . . . Evictions - even just a single eviction filing - create a long-term mark on a renter’s record that can make it much harder for them to rent in the future. Some renters avoid that mark by leaving before the formal eviction proceedings happen.”

The CDC’s order notes that preventing evictions “can be an effective public health measure utilized to prevent the spread of [COVID-19],” and that “housing stability helps protect public health because homelessness increases the likelihood of individuals moving into congregate settings, such as homeless shelters, which then puts individuals at higher risk [of] COVID-19.” The new guidance undermines the intent of the order by eroding protections for renters and making it more difficult for struggling renters to remain stably housed.

Read the guidance at: https://tinyurl.com/y65cw9y7

Read the CDC’s eviction moratorium order at: https://tinyurl.com/yxoq7oo7

Read Diane’s response to the guidance at: https://tinyurl.com/y6399zah

See NLIHC’s resources on the CDC’s eviction moratorium at: https://tinyurl.com/y6qorkv2