More than 2,000 organizations are calling on Biden to extend the national eviction ban
Allen J. Cockroaches | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images
More than 2,200 organizations have written a letter to President Joe Biden asking him to extend the national eviction moratorium.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced last September a ban on evacuating tenants struggling during the pandemic. This protection is due to expire at the end of this month.
In their March 15 letter, organizations including AARP, NAACP and American Civil Liberties Union warn of a wave of evictions if protections expire.
They also cited research showing evictions resulted in up to 400,000 additional coronavirus cases.
“Increasing evictions are driving the spread of COVID-19 and potentially death from COVID-19,” said Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
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Property owners have criticized the ban, saying landlords cannot afford to continue to house people for free.
“Short-term measures such as eviction moratoriums are causing tenants to incur insurmountable debt and jeopardizing the ability for rental housing providers to provide safe and affordable housing,” said Bob Pinnegar, president of the National Apartment Association.
However, real estate experts say it is bad policy to let the eviction ban expire before rental support goes to the people. Congress has allocated more than $ 45 billion to renters, but it could take a few months for the money to be paid off.
“The erosion of evacuation protection before rental support reaches the most vulnerable, and just as we are nearing a tipping point in the pandemic, it is only undermining mitigation strategies and escalating the crisis, making the recovery much more unsustainable,” said Emily Benfer, a visiting law professor at Wake Forest University.
The organizations called on the Biden government, the CDC and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development not only to extend the moratorium, but also to strengthen it.
At least two federal judges have questioned the CDC’s power to ban evictions. And despite the moratorium, many landlords have still pushed ahead with evictions.
Princeton University’s eviction laboratory has identified more than 180,000 evictions in just the five states and 19 cities it has been tracking since the CDC announced its national moratorium in September.
“After the CDC moratorium, tenants are only protected if they know about it and take positive action to be protected,” the organizations wrote. “As a result, corporate and other landlords continue to evacuate tenants before tenants are aware of the moratorium’s protection or find reasons for eviction other than non-payment of the rent.”
According to an analysis by the Center for Budget Policies and Priorities, around one in five tenants said their rent was out of date in January. Closer to 36% of black tenants said they were staying behind.
The Biden government did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether it would consider extending the ban.