On Monday, March 29, the CDC announced it is extending the federal eviction moratorium for an additional 3 months, through June 30, 2021. The moratorium prohibits housing providers from evicting a tenant who is unable to pay rent as a result of financial hardship due to COVID-19, but does not forgive the rent that is due. In addition to extending the moratorium, the CDC made a few additional changes, notably: it expands the order to include persons who are confirmed to have, who have been exposed to, or who may have been exposed to COVID-19 and are taking reasonable precautions not to spread the disease; and it requires covered persons to provide a declaration form which specifies they meet all the requirements to qualify to their housing provider.
There is emergency rental assistance funding available from the Treasury Department, which has been disbursed to the states. Each state received at least $352 million (or more, based on population) and is in the process of setting up its program and disbursing funds to housing providers and renters who qualify. The National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA) is tracking the individual state programs. NAR is working with the Treasury Department and the Administration on the implementation of this program, to ensure federal regulations that encourage states to create programs that allow the money to be disbursed quickly with as little burden on the housing provider as possible.
The CDC announced its initial eviction moratorium on September 4, 2020; it has since been extended several times. The CDC’s power to do this is based under Section 361 of the Public Health Service Act, and it is designed to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. There have been many legal challenges against the order, including several cases in which it was ruled to be an overreach of power by the CDC, but those rulings have thus far only had narrow applications.
NAR is part of a coalition of housing industry groups which is advocating for housing providers who have been negatively impacted by the eviction moratorium due to loss of rent payments. NAR is advocating for an end to the eviction moratorium and additional rental assistance funds to stabilize the rental housing market.