The national eviction moratorium that has protected millions of low-income renters during the pandemic has been extended through July 31 by the Biden administration, after it was set to expire at the end of this month.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) order has been extended several times. Without the eviction moratorium, millions of low-income renters are at risk of losing their homes just as the economy begins rebounding from the pandemic.
The extra month will allow desperate renters to receive federal emergency rental assistance that has been slow getting out the door. Administration officials also said they had concerns that many areas of the country still had low vaccination rates, and were concerned about the spread of COVID variants.
Low-income renters and affordable housing advocates had pushed the Biden administration to extend the eviction moratorium. They argued that even though vaccination rates are rising, federal rental assistance has been slow to reach those in danger of losing their homes. Although the economy is starting to reopen, not all workers are able to return to work right away.
Landlords had asked the Biden administration to let the eviction moratorium expire on June 30. In a letter to President Biden, they argued that they have been the victims of federal overreach for nine months. The landlord organizations and associations said that property owners are losing $13 billion a month in lost rent and fees.
In a related development, a federal district court judge recently overturned the CDC order, saying the agency had exceeded its authority. The judge did issue a stay of her own order while the case is under appeal by the Biden administration.
The plaintiffs in the case, the Alabama Association of Realtors, appealed the stay. The Appeals Court ruled that the stay would remain in place while the appeal is heard. The Appeals Court also said that the government looked likely to win its case on appeal.
The Alabama Association of Realtors then made an emergency petition to the Supreme Court. They asked the justices to lift the stay on the District Court judge’s order. Because it is an emergency petition, the Supreme Court could rule any time now on the case. If the Supreme Court decides to lift the stay, renters will no longer be protected and landlords can begin eviction filings nationwide.
Attorneys General for 22 states have filed an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief with the Supreme Court. They urge the justices not to overturn the eviction moratorium. In their brief, they argue that higher vaccination rates have not made tenants more financially secure yet.
The CDC originally issued its moratorium on evictions in September, 2020. It was set to expire at the end of year, but Congress extended the deadline until January 31, 2021. On President Biden’s first day in office, he ordered the eviction moratorium be extended until March 31. The CDC later extended the eviction protections through June 30, the current deadline. The Biden administration’s extension will continue to protect renters through July 31.
This is a breaking story. Affordable Housing Online will be tracking any changes to the eviction moratorium and the upcoming Supreme Court decision.