Biden Extends the Federal Eviction Moratorium
On January 20, President Biden signed an executive order extending the CDC eviction moratorium through March 31. Today’s extension of the CDC order is without any substantive changes, however, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, the incoming Director of the CDC, will reportedly begin a process immediately to take input on any potential changes. Renters' rights activists have already weighed in with the kinds of changes they would like to see in the order. The National Apartment Association (NAA) and many others in the rental housing community will be heavily engaged in this as well.
The timing of this new deadline is likely intended to coincide with consideration of another COVID-19 stimulus package by Congress. On January 14, the President proposed a long-term extension of the federal moratorium as part of his “American Rescue Plan.” Of primary concern to the rental housing industry is a drastic federal eviction moratorium, to be in effect through September 30, and a call to fund legal assistance for renters in eviction court. On a positive note, the package also includes funding for $25 billion in rental assistance, $1,400 per-person stimulus checks for qualifying households and enhanced unemployment benefits.
While the President has recognized the millions of struggling mom-and-pop rental housing owners and operators and claimed that his proposals will also be an “economic bridge to recovery,” we know that housing providers cannot continue to shoulder the financial impacts of the pandemic alone under the constraints of eviction moratoriums and other emergency renter protections. Further extensions of the federal eviction moratorium would cripple rental housing providers. Nineteen percent of renters are currently unable to pay rent and, if that number remains steady, rent owed could amount to an additional $87.4 billion by the end of September. More help is needed, and it is needed now without an eviction moratorium attached.
While we applaud the Biden Administration for calling on Congress to pass further rental assistance, action must be taken immediately. We call upon Congress to enact additional rental assistance without delay, so that rental housing providers of all portfolio sizes may be made whole and can continue operations – keeping America’s 40 million renters safely housed while the pandemic continues to rage. Additionally, we urge Congress to avoid any extension of any eviction moratorium, which only cripples housing providers, hurts housing affordability and the very Americans it seeks to protect.
As always, NAA will continue to aggressively advocate for policies that meet the unique needs of our industry. We welcome the opportunity to work with the Biden Administration and 117th Congress to craft the most effective short- and long-term solutions to the housing crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic. With the inauguration behind us, the legislative process will begin in earnest. Look for more details on NAA's Advocate conference in the coming days as the federal eviction moratorium will be a major focus during our virtual meeting.