CDC extends eviction moratorium

On Jan. 20, at the request of  President Joe Biden, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) extended its eviction moratorium through March 31 without any substantive changes.

However, it has been reported that the incoming CDC director will consider making substantive changes to the moratorium after receiving input from the rental housing industry and renters’ rights activists.

It appears the timing of the moratorium extension is intended to allow time for Congress to consider another Covid stimulus package proposed by the Biden Administration. On Jan. 14, President Biden proposed an eviction moratorium extension through Sept. 30 as part of his “American Rescue Plan.” Also included in the plan are funds for legal assistance to renters in eviction cases and $25 billion in rental assistance.

The rental assistance plan seems likely to be insufficient. The current estimate is that the national aggregate rent delinquency is about $70 billion, and an additional $87 billion delinquency could occur by the end of September.

Renters’ rights activists have already petitioned the CDC for changes to the existing eviction moratorium. Among other things, they advocate:

  • Making the moratorium automatic and universal. Currently renters are only protected if they know about the moratorium and take affirmative steps to be protected.
  • Requiring landlords to notify renters of the moratorium.
  • Requiring landlords to certify when filing eviction cases that the renters have not provided a signed declarative statement invoking the moratorium protections.
  • Rescinding the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document issued by the CDC on Oct. 9, 2020. The FAQ allows landlords to serve eviction notices and file eviction cases so long as families are not removed from their homes until the moratorium expires. It also states that landlords may question the veracity of renters’ declarative statements signed under penalty of perjury.
  • Enforcing criminal penalties against landlords who violate the CDC moratorium.

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