In the aftermath of the hurricanes that devastated Texas and Florida, Federal officials have announced that they are temporarily stopping evictions for hurricane and flood relief victims (who have received rental assistance from the Federal government) until early October. The officials say the evictions will be limited to those who are living in imminent danger of losing their homes or who have been physically displaced by the hurricanes in southern Texas or in Florida, but this appears to be a softening of the Federal government’s previous stance.
On Thursday, Aug. 1, the CDC announced a limited, targeted eviction moratorium for some of the poorest, most vulnerable people in North America. The CDC reports that most of the people affected by the moratorium live in abject poverty, and often face eviction because their landlords can no longer afford to pay their mortgages. The moratorium exempts low-income housing units from eviction until Oct. 1. This means that if a landlord needs to sell, or if they simply can no longer afford their mortgage (either through rising interest rates, or a loss of income, such as a job loss), they will be able to wait until at least October to evict their tenants.
The federal government is bringing an end to the five-year, controversial practice of forcibly removing long-term residents of public housing from their homes, in an effort to drive down the cost of housing across the country.
The latest embargo comes after President Joe Biden and his administration let a previous freeze expire, causing outrage among his own party members.
“Eviction moratoria, like quarantine, isolation, and social distance, may be a successful public health strategy used to limit the transmission of infectious illness in the case of a pandemic. By keeping individuals out of congregate settings and in their own houses, eviction moratoria promote self-isolation and self-quarantine by persons who get sick or are at risk of spreading COVID-19 “According to the statement,
The eviction issue had devolved into a spat between the White House and progressive Democrats, who accused Trump of putting them in the position of having to approve an extension at the eleventh hour. Biden’s advisers said that everyone should have known the moratorium was about to expire and that Congress needed to act.
Millions of Americans were left in the lurch due to the epidemic that is currently ravaging portions of the nation.
The resolution will not impose another national eviction freeze, but will instead be more targeted, focusing on areas where Covid is prevalent.
According to a person involved with the initiative, the announcement will reach 80% of US counties and 90% of the population.
Biden’s staff have argued on many occasions that he lacked the legal power to extend the current ban, citing a Supreme Court ruling from Justice Brett Kavanaugh from late June that said that further extension would need legislative approval.
The new eviction prohibition, according to the President, will be different from the previous one. However, he admitted that it will almost certainly face judicial scrutiny, and that the time it takes for the court procedure to play out would allow for emergency rental help to reach distressed renters.
After the Supreme Court’s decision, Biden said he sought out constitutional experts for advice, and the “majority” of them cautioned that an eviction moratorium would “not likely pass constitutional test.”
However, he said that “many important academics” warned him it may, and he felt it was worth the risk if it gave already-allocated emergency rental money more time to reach Americans in need.
“At the very least, by the time it’s litigated, it’ll probably buy us some time while we get that $45 billion out to folks who are really behind on their rent and don’t have the money,” Biden added.
The new eviction freeze from the CDC, according to a senior administration official, would be “different in form and structure” from the one that expired. It’s aimed at regions where the virus is spreading the fastest.
The White House and the CDC had been looking for legal ways to prolong the now-expired national moratorium on evictions for many days, while Democrats in Congress chastised Obama for his inactivity.
Rep. Cori Bush, who staged a protest on the steps of the US Capitol, said that the President was betraying millions of Americans who needed protection from losing their homes. “Our movement moved mountains,” Bush remarked after learning of the impending government action.
According to a source familiar with the situation, Biden talked with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday about the eviction problem and his proposal to extend the moratorium to certain regions of the nation. Even when authorities indicated it was legally impossible, Pelosi pushed the administration to prolong the embargo, calling it a “moral necessity.”
Housing activists applauded the initiative.
“This is a huge relief for millions of individuals who were about to lose their homes and, with it, their ability to remain safe during the epidemic,” said Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “State and local governments’ efforts to provide emergency rental assistance to renters in need have never been more important. The President has given them the time that they and millions of other tenants have been waiting for; now it is up to them to make the most of it and provide help as quickly as possible. The whole nation is watching, and renters and landlords are on the edge of their seats.”
Meanwhile, landlord organizations were taken aback by the administration’s abrupt change of heart when it said that it lacked the power to prolong the embargo.
“Can the federal government create any more uncertainty for renters and rental house property owners in this country?” said David Howard, executive director of the National Rental Home Council, a trade organization for property owners. “I’m sorry for thinking the moratorium would not be extended after the President said that he lacked the legal power to do so and that Congress was unable to enact legislation to do so. Meanwhile, landlords have lost billions of dollars that they will never be able to recoup.”
Officials have been working for days to find a solution to deal with the impact from the moratorium’s expiry on July 31, as well as the severely unfavorable political ramifications caused by angry Democrats on Capitol Hill.
Democratic leaders in the House, who have urged Biden to find a way to prolong the embargo, are well aware that they lack the numbers to enact legislation. The Senate’s prospects are much worse.
In recent days, progressive Democrats have increased their pressure on the administration, putting the whole on on them.
Officials believe this fact has prompted concerns about whether any fresh attempt would be able to withstand a judicial challenge. That most certainly includes the fresh measures that Vice President Biden is contemplating.
However, the administration has pressed for alternatives despite intense pressure from House Democrats, from Pelosi on down, to act.
“We’re currently considering our legal alternatives. That procedure is still ongoing “Earlier Tuesday, Psaki informed reporters.
On Tuesday, this article was amended to reflect new information.
Anna Bahney of CNN contributed to this story.
After months of preparing for a routine eviction, the CDC finally has the green light to finally kick the elderly out of their building next week. It’s an unprecedented move, with the CDC’s announcement that as of September 15th, 2016, they will only evict those over the age of 55, and only after a full medical review.. Read more about eviction moratorium meaning and let us know what you think.
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