As CDC Extends Ban On Evictions, Smaller Landlords Struggle To Keep Properties

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention extended its moratorium on evictions through June, but some landlords are not content with the situation.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a historic threat to the nation’s public health,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky in a statement. “Keeping people in their homes and out of crowded or congregate settings — like homeless shelters — by preventing evictions is a key step in helping to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

The ban was scheduled to run out at the end of March. Portals for renters to apply for funding from the federal government opened in March and funds are beginning to be distributed to renters.

“The extended moratorium and its enforcement are essential to help millions of families remain in their homes,” says Diane Yentel, president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. NPR reports that Yentel also said the local and state areas need time to give out the funding that Congress approved to help renters.

According to NPR, trade organizations for landlords have been against the ban, arguing that landlords need to be able to control the places that they own.

“Though politically popular and well-intentioned, eviction moratoria push renters and their housing providers closer to the brink of financial ruin,” said Bob Pinnegar, president and CEO of the National Apartment Association.

Smaller landlords have reportedly been harder hit than larger corporations by the eviction moratorium.

CNBC reports, “More than half the rental stock in the nation is owned by smaller landlords, and more than half of those landlords have tenants who have missed payments during the pandemic, according to a new survey from the [National Rental Home Council]. Of those, more than one-third said they have had to dip into personal savings or take out a loan to make payments for mortgages and maintenance on their properties.”

Some in favor of the eviction ban argue that the CDC didn’t do enough to help renters during the pandemic, and that the extension of the moratorium only provides the least amount of help possible. Landlords have reportedly been able to get around the moratoriums using different strategies.

“It’s disappointing that the administration didn’t act on the clear evidence and need to also strengthen the order to address the flaws that undermine its public health purpose,” Yentel said. “That will result in some continued harmful evictions during the pandemic.”

The CDC’s order states, “Researchers estimate that, in 2020, Federal, state, and local eviction moratoria led to over one million fewer evictions than the previous year.” However, it adds that even though the eviction ban led “to an estimated 50% decrease in eviction filings compared to the historical average, there have still been over 100,000 eviction filings since September, suggesting high demand and likelihood of mass evictions.”

The CDC also explains that evictions can lead to a higher likelihood that COVID-19 will spread, since many people who have been evicted “move into close quarters in shared housing or other congregate settings.”

CNBC reports, “The CDC’s eviction ban applies to individuals who earn less than $99,000 a year and couples who make under $198,000. To qualify, renters also have to attest on a declaration to their landlord that they’re unable to afford their rent and that being evicted could result in them doubling up with others or becoming homeless.”

Earlier this month, a federal judge in Ohio ruled that the CDC does not have the ability to ban owners of properties from evicting tenants. A few weeks prior to the ruling, a federal judge in Texas made a similar claim, stating that the CDC’s ban on eviction was unconstitutional. The Department of Justice said that it would appeal the ruling and stated that the CDC ban would continue.

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