The CDC Keeps Extending Its Illegal Eviction Ban
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is extending its controversial eviction moratorium, which was set to expire Wednesday, through the end of June.
The order, signed by CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, prevents tenants earning up to $99,000 ($198,000 for joint filers) from being evicted for non-payment of rent, provided they sign written declarations saying, among other things, that they’ve lost income or had unexpected medical bills, that they have made every effort to acquire government assistance, and that their eviction could compel them to move into a homeless shelter or other crowded shared living space.
The order was first imposed under the Trump administration, extended by Congress in late December, and renewed again by the Biden administration in January.
Renters can still be evicted under the CDC order for engaging in on-premises criminal activity, for threatening the health and safety of other residents, for damaging the property, for violating building codes, or for violating lease terms other than not paying rent.
Through each extension, the moratorium’s specifics have remained largely unchanged from the Trump administration’s initial version. That has aggravated some housing advocates who, while supportive of the policy, would like to see it expanded to cover more types of evictions and enforced more robustly.
“While the Biden administration is well aware of the shortcomings in the moratorium order that allow some evictions to proceed during the pandemic, the CDC director did not correct them,” declared the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC). “She simply extended President Trump’s original order, leaving the loopholes and flaws in place, a disappointing decision that will result in more harmful evictions during the pandemic.”
On the other side of the issue, landlords are dismayed at a moratorium that prevents them from reclaiming their property from nonpaying tenants.
“My clients are now in a position where we’ve had the eviction moratorium since September. It will go through June at least, and could be extended again,” says Caleb Kruckenberg, a lawyer at the New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA), which is suing the CDC on behalf of several property owners. “For some of my clients, it will be 18 months since they’ve had tenants who pay rent. It was unsustainable from the beginning.”
The CDC has justified its eviction ban by pointing to public health rules that say t
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