The Biden administration announced an extension of the federal eviction moratorium through June 30, 2021, and greater enforcement of the moratorium’s protections – two measures that will help keep millions of renters stably housed during the pandemic and prevent further spread of and deaths from COVID-19. The announcement comes after NLIHC and more than 2,300 national, state, and local organizations and elected officials urged the Biden administration to take action.
According to the announcement, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will extend the eviction moratorium for three months, and a White House Fact Sheet indicates that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will launch a new effort to increase awareness of the moratorium’s protections. The CFPB and the Federal Trade Commission will enforce penalties against landlords who violate the order.
The extended moratorium and its enforcement are essential to help ten million families remain in their homes as states and local communities work to distribute emergency rental assistance to address arrears and prevent evictions.
Unfortunately, the administration did not act on the clear evidence and need to also strengthen the order to address the flaws that undermine its public health purpose. While the Biden administration is aware of the shortcomings in the moratorium order that allow some evictions to proceed during the pandemic, the CDC director did not correct them. 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.
It is not too late to act further. The Biden administration must strengthen the order and close the loopholes that some landlords have exploited to continue evicting renters from their homes and must ensure the moratorium’s protections are automatic and universal throughout the duration of the pandemic. The administration must also continue to work to ensure that emergency rental assistance quickly reaches the lowest-income and most marginalized renters who face the greatest risk of eviction.
Evictions risk lives, drive families deeper into poverty, and strain our already overstretched public health systems. When our collective health depends on an ability to stay in our homes, we all have a stake in ensuring that tens of millions of renters do not lose theirs.