Progressive Democrats Propose Eviction Moratorium Far More Sweeping Than the One the Supreme Court Struck Down
When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the eviction moratorium imposed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it did so on the grounds that the agency’s order had exceeded the authority given to it by Congress.
Progressive lawmakers are now trying to remedy that flaw with a bill far more sweeping than the CDC’s defunct order. Their legislation also explicitly gives federal public health officials the power to issue eviction moratoriums during future disease outbreaks.
“Housing is a human right, not a bargaining chip to let fall between bureaucratic cracks,” said Rep. Cori Bush (D–Mo.) when unveiling the Keeping Renters Safe Act of 2021.
The bill, which has been introduced in the Senate by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.), would halt “all residential eviction filings, hearings, judgments, and execution of judgments” until 60 days after the end of the federal public health emergency that the Trump administration declared in January 2020.
The CDC’s moratorium only barred the physical removal of tenants for non-payment of rent. Landlords were still within their rights to file for evictions. They could also have tenants removed for reasons not related to non-payment, such as violating the terms of the lease, damaging the property, or creating a nuisance for other tenants.
The Keeping Renters Safe Act does allow the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to create exceptions to the eviction moratorium “protect the health and safety of others.” But the bill doesn’t require the HHS secretary to create those exceptions.
State-level moratoriums with narrow health and safety exceptions have put landlords in the position of housing legitimately dangerous and threatening tenants for months at a time.
That was the experience of Toni Akins, a small-time landlord who owns several units scattered acro
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