The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced yesterday evening that they would issue a limited eviction moratorium – starting August 3rd through October 3 – for renters living in communities experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases.
This bold move led by the Biden administration in this moment of crisis will protect lives, and the new eviction moratorium is a major victory for renters and their allies.
The announcement would not have been possible without the extraordinary dedication and tireless work of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters (D-CA), Representatives Cori Bush (D-MO), and other congressional champions, and of thousands of housing and homelessness advocates, including NLIHC’s partners and allies across the country. After the Biden administration stated on July 29 that it would not extend the federal eviction moratorium, Speaker Pelosi and Chair Waters led a fierce effort to enact legislation to extend the moratorium, but the measure failed to garner the support necessary. Since that time they and others, especially members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, kept up their demand that the Biden administration use every authority to extend the protection for renters.
The announcement also comes one day after the Biden administration announced additional steps it will take to protect renters and prevent evictions during the pandemic.
The new eviction moratorium provides immediate relief for the 6.5 million renter households who are currently behind on their rent and who were at an increased risk of eviction when the federal eviction moratorium expired on July 31. Recent research estimates that up to 80% of households behind on rent and at risk of eviction live in communities with over 100% COVID-19 case growth rates in July. The new moratorium will help keep renters safely and stably housed, and it will provide state and local governments more time to distribute emergency rental assistance (ERA) to households in need.
The new moratorium:
- Covers all renters living in communities experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases, an estimated 90% of all renters; and
- Protects renters for up to two months, through October 3.
But we cannot rest. Landlord and real estate associations will undoubtedly challenge the new eviction moratorium in court. The work of state and local governments to distribute emergency rental assistance to tenants in need becomes all the more vital.
Because the moratorium is not retroactive and will not protect those renters who have already been evicted from their homes, it is critical that state and local governments quickly prioritize ERA to rehouse these individuals and families to prevent homelessness.
The CDC’s decision to issue a new eviction moratorium gives states and communities the time they need to ramp up their ERA programs; they must use this time effectively to expedite assistance to households in need.