Biden Admin Extends Residential Eviction Ban Until July

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FILE PHOTO: Makeshift sheets displaying messages of protest contesting the ability to pay for rent hang in the window of an apartment building, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in the Columbia Heights neighbourhood of Washington, U.S., on October 28, 2020. REUTERS/Tom Brenner/File Photo

Thursday’s statement by the Biden administration stated that it would extend the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 residential moratorium to July 31, but it wouldn’t grant any further extensions.

Reuters reported the anticipated one-month extension Tuesday.

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The first time the national ban on residential evictions were implemented was last September. It was then extended in March to June 30.

The CDC also announced that it would extend the moratorium until July 31.

The report stated that the COVID-19 pandemic had presented a grave threat to national health. To stop COVID-19 from spreading, it is important to keep people inside their homes and away from congested or crowded settings (like homeless shelters) by preventing evictions.

The White House stated that it is taking additional steps to help struggling homeowners and renters.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has also extended the foreclosure moratorium for mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac until July 31.

The U.S. Justice Department on Thursday urged state courts to adopt strategies that will prevent families who are struggling to pay rent from being evicted from their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vanita Gupta, the Justice Department’s No. 3 official, wrote in a letter to state court administrators that local courts can take steps on their own to help tenants while still protecting landlords’ rights.

The Treasury Department told states that they can use federal funds to help avoid evictions through diversion plans, which emphasize housing stability services and emergency rental assistance.

“Eviction diversion strategies like these encourage landlords and tenants to resolve disputes without formal adjudication and increase the chance that tenants can stay in their homes,” Gupta wrote.

The White House will host a summit about immediate eviction prevention plans, attended by members from the American Bar Association/Legal Services Corporation. “To develop community-specific strategies to provide vulnerable families with counsel, divert and reconnect renters and landlords with available resources, we will be facilitating the development of community-specific solutions.”

A group of 44 U.S. legislators called for an extension on Tuesday. They cited an estimate of “6 million renter households” that are behind rent and at risk of being evicted.

The Supreme Court has yet to act on a petition by landlord groups that argued the CDC exceeded its authority when it halted evictions to help renters during the pandemic.

To combat the spread COVID-19 and prevent homelessness in the event of a pandemic, the CDC imposed a ban.

Lawyers for the landlord groups cited the Reuters story Wednesday reporting the expected extension in asking the Supreme Court to take immediate action to halt the ban.

The landlords said earlier that property owners “have been losing over $13 billion every month under the moratorium.”

One group estimated that 40 million Americans were behind on rent in January, with $70 billion of missed payments by the end of 2020.

The moratorium covers renters who expected to earn less than $99,000 a year, or $198,000 for joint filers, or who reported no income or received stimulus checks.

Renters also had to swear they were doing their best to make partial rent payments, and that evictions would likely leave them homeless or force them into “shared” living quarters.

Congress has approved $47 billion in relief for renters but much of that money has not yet been distributed.

Sherrod Brown, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, stated that it was time to “remove unnecessary red tape” and ensure that funds Congress has provided for families to stay in their homes are out to them as quickly as possible.