Tenant rights advocates demonstrated in Boston in January calling on the Biden administration to extend the CDC eviction moratorium. AP hide caption
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has taken an important step in expanding an order to prevent evictions during the ongoing COVID outbreak. The CDC order currently expires in less than 2 weeks.
Proponents of housing construction have been warning for months that removing this protections for renters would trigger a tsunami of evictions and displace more than 1 million people from their homes.
The CDC has now submitted a proposal to the Bureau of Administration and Budget to review the rules. The CDC did not respond to a request for comment. And the listing on the OMB site does not specify how long the CDC could extend the eviction notice. The move does not necessarily mean that the agency will renew the order. But that now seems likely.
“This means that CDC is likely to intend to expand and possibly improve the CDC eviction order,” said Shamus Roller, the executive director of the National Housing Law Project. He says that order prevents many evictions, but that it has gaps and needs to be strengthened.
Nearly 10 million Americans are behind on their rental payments, according to the US Census Bureau. In the last two COVID relief laws, Congress approved more than $ 50 billion for rental assistance.
But the state and local application portals through which the money will flow are only now opening up to receive applications. The vast majority of people in need of help will not have received it by the end of March, when the CDC eviction order expires. This is one of the reasons proponents have asked the CDC to renew the order.
Studies found evictions spreading COVID and leading to more deaths from the disease as people are forced into overcrowded living situations and often double up with other families or family members. For this reason, the CDC ordered the outbreak to be contained back in September.
Landlord groups have welcomed the rental support money from Congress, but they are against the CDC, which is expanding its order, saying landlords must have the right to press eviction cases a year after the pandemic started.