COVID-19-MONEY-SECURITY

Ban on renter evictions during COVID-19 pandemic is extended

Mar 29, 2021, 2:43 PM
evictions...
FILE - In this Jan. 13, 2021, file photo, tenants' rights advocates demonstrate in front of the Edward W. Brooke Courthouse in Boston. The Biden administration is extending a federal moratorium on evictions of tenants who've fallen behind on rent during the coronavirus pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on March 29 moved to continue the pandemic-related protection, which had been scheduled to expire on April 1. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)
(AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration is extending a federal moratorium on evictions of tenants who have fallen behind on rent during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday moved to continue the pandemic-related protection, which had been scheduled to expire on Wednesday. The moratorium is now extended through the end of June.

The ban, initially put in place last year, provides protection for renters out of concern that having families lose their homes and move into shelters or share crowded conditions with relatives or friends during the pandemic would further spread the highly contagious virus, which has killed more than 545,000 people in the United States.

To be eligible for the housing protection, renters must earn $198,000 annually or less for couples filing jointly, or $99,000 for single filers; demonstrate that they’ve sought government help to pay the rent; declare that they can’t pay because of COVID-19 hardships; and affirm they are likely to become homeless if evicted.

In February, President Joe Biden extended a ban on housing foreclosures to June 30 to help homeowners struggling during the pandemic.

Housing advocates had generally expected the extension of the tenant eviction moratorium and had been lobbying the Biden administration, saying it was too early in the country’s economic recovery to let the ban lapse.

John Pollock, coordinator of the National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel, said that the moratorium “is vital for ensuring there is enough time for Congress’s emergency rental assistance to reach the millions of renters in need who would otherwise be evicted.”

Pollack said current surveys show that 18.4% of all tenants owe back rent. That number also revealed significant racial disparity: The percentage of Black tenants behind on their rent was 32.9%.

But Pollock and other housing advocates were disappointed that Biden merely extended the ban without addressing several issues that put many tenants at risk of eviction.

“In Massachusetts, judges have green-lighted over 1,700 evictions under the federal eviction moratorium. While it is protecting some families, it’s clearly not protecting all,” said Denise Matthews-Turner, the interim executive director of City Life/Vida Urbana, a grassroots housing justice organization in Boston. “The extension is a good thing, but it’s disappointing that the moratorium wasn’t also strengthened to keep families from falling through the cracks, such as families with no-fault evictions or whose landlords won’t accept rent relief.”

Diane Yentel, president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, said she and others had pushed to make the ban’s protections automatic and universal. Currently, tenants have to actively take steps to invoke the ban’s protections, which can lead to exploitation of those who don’t know their rights or don’t understand the process.

Also, some jurisdictions have allowed landlords to initiate the eviction process in court, a tactic that scared many families into leaving rather than having the eviction proceedings, even unfinished ones, on their records.

“While the Biden administration is well aware of the shortcomings in the moratorium order that allow some evictions to proceed during the pandemic, the CDC director did not correct them,” Yentel said.

Instead, the CDC “simply extended President Trump’s original order, leaving the loopholes and flaws in place, a disappointing decision that will result in more harmful evictions during the pandemic,” she said.

Pollock said the moratorium should also include a provision ensuring tenants have a right to counsel, “so that they can effectively use rental assistance and fight the increasing wave of illegal evictions.”

Landlords in several states have sued to scrap the order, arguing it was causing them financial hardship and infringing on their property rights. They remain opposed to any extension, saying it does nothing to address the financial challenges facing renters and landlords.

There are at least six prominent lawsuits challenging the authority of the CDC ban. So far, three judges have sided with the ban and three have ruled against, with all cases currently going through appeals. One judge in Memphis declared the CDC order unenforceable in the entire Western District of Tennessee.

Chuck Fowke, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders, said he was “disappointed that the Administration is still pushing this poorly thought out and illegal policy.”

Fowke said in a statement that the government was embracing a short-term fix by “saddling landlords with the responsibility to provide free housing during this pandemic.”

___

Casey reported from Boston.

COVID-19-Money-security

canada truck blockade COVID...
ROB GILLIES and TOM KRISHER Associated Press

Four-day truck blockade at US-Canada border shuts auto plants

The bumper-to-bumper demonstration entered its fourth day Thursday at the Ambassador Bridge connecting Windsor, Ontario, to Detroit.
8 months ago
Hiring sign is displayed outside of a retail store in Vernon Hills, Ill., Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021. ...
By Paul Wiseman

US unemployment claims at 52-year low

The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits plunged last week to the lowest level in 52 years.
10 months ago
Money, COVID-19 financial assistance program reportedly a big success. Photo: Pexels...
Paul Nelson

Salt Lake City calls COVID-19 financial assistance program a big success, some housing funds still available

Officials in Salt Lake City say their financial assistance program to help families with during the pandemic was a success. 
10 months ago
FEMA Photo: canva...
Eliza Craig

FEMA adds $8.4 million to Utah’s COVID response fund

FEMA said the funding will go toward personal protective equipment including medical gowns, N95 masks, and gloves.
11 months ago
September Jobs...
Anneken Tappe, CNN Business

Major disappointment: US economy adds only 194,000 jobs in September

US employers added only 194,000 jobs in September, another troubling sign that Covid is disrupting the economy.
12 months ago
Holla Dollars...
Mary Richards

“Holla Dollars” are released in Holladay to support local business

Holla Dollars can be downloaded in ten dollar increments and were made available by money sent to the state for pandemic relief.
1 year ago

Sponsored Articles

Prescription opioid...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
...

Tax Tuesday: The Most Common Mistakes People Make When Filing Their Taxes

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.
...

Tax Tuesday: How will last year’s child tax credits affect you?

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.
...

Tax Tuesday: Key Information Before the Filing Deadline

Businesses can receive a credit of up to $5,000 per employee in 2020 and up to $21,000 per employee in 2021.
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
Ban on renter evictions during COVID-19 pandemic is extended