Sep 1, 2020 - Politics & Policy

CDC to issue order temporarily halting some evictions for public health reasons

Eviction protesters

Eviction protesters. Photo: Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention plans to issue an order temporarily halting residential evictions until Dec. 31 to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the White House announced on Tuesday.

Why it matters: One estimate last month found that 23 million Americans are at risk of eviction. The CDC's order marks another example of the administration circumventing Congress, where coronavirus stimulus talks have stalled, to deal with the economic impact of the pandemic.

How it works: In order to get assistance, renters earning less than $99,000 per year must report they are unable to pay their rent or are likely to become homeless if evicted, White House officials said.

  • They must also show that they tried to obtain all government assistance currently available for rent or housing and that they are unable to make payments due to loss of household income, a layoff or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses.

Between the lines: It's unclear how effective the moratorium will be without any extra funding behind the plan.

  • Experts say that failing to compensate landlords who are no longer receiving rent payments could cause a "massive destabilizing effect" in housing markets, according to CNBC.
  • The action may face legal challenges from landlords who have seen rental income decrease from the pandemic, according to Bloomberg.

What they're saying: “President Trump is committed to helping hardworking Americans stay in their homes and combating the spread of the coronavirus,” White House spokesperson Brian Morgenstern said.

  • “Today’s announcement from his administration means that people struggling to pay rent due to coronavirus will not have to worry about being evicted, and risk further spreading of or exposure to the disease due to economic hardship.”
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