The conversation surrounding the new Centers for Disease Control (CDC) eviction moratorium is getting heated. Following President Biden’s urgent bid to the CDC to extend the initial deadline, which expired this past weekend, the CDC enacted a new policy, which runs through Oct. 3 and bans evictions in areas where COVID has a stronghold.
Now, several housing groups (listed below) have come together to form a coalition that opposes the new eviction moratorium. Much of the controversy stems around the belief the CDC has exceeded its authority regarding the ban.
– CCIM Institute, Commercial Real Estate Finance Council
– Council for Affordable and Rural Housing
– Institute of Real Estate Management
– Manufactured Housing Institute
– Mortgage Bankers Association
– National Affordable Housing Management Association
– National Apartment Association
– National Association of Home Builders
– National Association of Residential Property Managers
– National Multifamily Housing Council
“The best way to help struggling renters is for the Administration to work with Congress, states and localities to help disburse rental assistance funds to residents and housing providers in need,” read the Coalition’s statement. “Our organizations are committed to working with the Administration and Congress to ensure that the emergency rental assistance program is a success, to help our residents regain housing stability and to preserve the viability of the rental housing sector.”
Federal housing agencies recently released a statement reiterating that assistance funds are still available and emphasizing their goal to improve ease of access and comprehension for obtaining Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) funds. However, according to the Associated Press, $2.4 billion in aid to renters and landlords has not yet been distributed, leaving landlords and renters at a standstill.
According to the Coalition, the recent CDC order will leave rental housing providers in “legal limbo,” while many renters continue to build up back rent “and face a mounting debt cliff.”
The group believes the moratorium fails to deliver the necessary solutions to address the underlying financial distress faced by renters, putting the rental housing sector at risk.
“We agree with the White House that ‘there is simply no excuse, no place to hide for any state or locality that is failing to accelerate their Emergency Rental Assistance Fund.’ That is where the Administration, Congress and state and local leaders must focus,” their statement continued.
Chuck Fowke, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), issued the following statement:
“NAHB strongly opposes the new eviction moratorium announced by the CDC. As President Joe Biden said in his press conference [at press time], the courts have made it clear that the eviction moratorium ‘was not constitutional—it would not stand.’ Instead, state and local governments should be putting more effort into connecting renters with federal funds designed to help them make their payments,” said Fowke. “The federal government has provided billions of dollars for this purpose. NAHB has actively advocated for emergency rental assistance to help renters and landlords impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and to protect the viability and stability of the rental housing market.”
Other trade groups are in the process of suing the CDC. The Alabama and Georgia chapters of the National Association of REALTORS® filed a motion in federal court to leave the CDC ban. The associations also initiated a legal battle against the original eviction moratorium.
Not all agree that simply relying on assistance funds and revoking the moratorium will resolve the issue at hand, however. According to the Urban Institute (through its Housing Matters initiative), a wave of evictions could have significant repercussions for the industry. The group provides several resources discussing the potential effects:
– How eviction perpetuates poverty and spatial inequality
– How eviction can create a cycle of housing instability
– The long-term mental health consequences of eviction
– How eviction influences employment
– How eviction can affect all aspects of a family’s life
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has released another statement affirming its commitment to preventing evictions and distributing ERA funds.
“HUD applauds the CDC’s action and reiterates its pledge to do all we can to prevent evictions of those who were most impacted by the pandemic—many of whom are families with low incomes and people of color,” reads the statement.
“Our department calls on landlords and owners who do business with HUD to access the Emergency Rental Assistance Program and do everything they can to keep families housed during this historically difficult time,” the statement continues. “The Emergency Rental Assistance Program is available in every state and will help landlords and owners receive past due rent and allow tenants to remain in their homes.”
HUD stated it is distributing the assistance to those who need it most “as quickly as possible.”
For more information on ERA funds, click here.
This is a developing story. Stay tuned to RISMedia for more updates.
Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s senior online editor. Email her your real estate news ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.