This past Tuesday, the CDC has declared a ban on evictions for tenants who have been impacted by COVID-19, effective until the end of 2020. As a measure to avoid potential further spread of coronavirus, they deemed it unsafe for tenants to be evicted and forced into homelessness or other adverse housing situations during this time.
In order to qualify, tenants must sign a declaration stating five key points:
- The tenant’s income is under $99,000 per year ($198,000 for those joint-filing)
- The tenant has applied for all government housing assistance (including unemployment benefits)
- If evicted, the tenant’s only other option is homelessness or living in a residence with a new group of people
- The tenant does not have the ability to pay the full rent amount due to loss of job/significant loss of hours due to coronavirus
- The tenant will do what is in their capacity to make partial, timely rent payments to the landlord
This CDC’s order is possibly the most aggressive effort they have made to slow down the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. While previous efforts left much of the decision-making to individual states/counties, this order leaves little room for interpretation. This update comes right as many state’s eviction protection measures expire and after major public pressure to protect those at risk of eviction.
While this can be seen as short term relief to renters, it has caused financial worry for landlords. Some have cited this as a half-measure, as the unpaid rent cost is falling entirely on the landlord. Many landlords need timely, full rental payments in order to pay their own expenses, including paying mortgage on the rental property. Since this order does not include any protection for mortgage forbearance or property taxes, it could only be a matter of time before landlords simply cannot afford to house their tenants. Diane Yentel, the CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, along with Doug Bibby, the president of National Multifamily Housing Council, have already spoken out against the lack of relief for landlords. They are calling for long-term assistance for renters, landlords, and property owners alike.
Housing instability has been a threat to many Americans, especially during the coronavirus pandemic, so this order is sure to provide some sort of stability and sense of security to renters. Landlords are still able to evict tenants for reasons unrelated to non-payment of rent such as criminal activity, damage of property, and other breaches to the leasing agreement.
A study done by the National Low Income Housing Coalition found that in July, approximately 10,000~20,000 residents were at risk of eviction in the city of Oakland alone. This order is expected to affect millions of households and furthers the question: What will it take to put an end to the coronavirus pandemic in America?