The Biden administration announced a new eviction ban for many renters across the country after the nationwide eviction moratorium expired, causing an outcry among House Democrats. Irritated by the expiration of the moratorium, they pressured the president to reinstate the ban, claiming that millions of Americans could lose their homes if it is not extended.
With Biden’s decision to extend the moratorium, progressive leaders celebrated and several Democratic representatives camped outside the Capitol protesting the end of the eviction ban.
Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a new eviction moratorium arguing that it aims to protect residents living in counties “experiencing substantial and high levels of community transmission.”
The new moratorium is set to expire on Oct. 3. In June, Biden extended for another month the eviction moratorium and stated that this would be the final extension of the program, which adjusts more than a year since it was imposed in August by former President Donald Trump. The White House extended the moratorium, as the CDC lacked the authority to do so as specified by the Supreme Court.
According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, nearly 6.5 million American families are behind on their rent, and at risk of ending up homeless by the end of the summer.
House Democrats tried for eleven hours to extend the eviction ban through the end of the year, however, they were unable to find the necessary support from even a dozen members of their own party. Unable to pass the extension in Congress, the Democrats had to fall back on President Biden’s authority.
Despite pressure from House Democrats to extend the moratorium on evictions, money earmarked for rent assistance for the lowest-income households has moved too slowly.
As Democrats insist on extending the moratorium on eviction, funds for rental assistance are distributed with unprecedented slowness
The federal government has allocated more than $46 billion to provide rental assistance and occupancy-related subsidies to low-income families since the pandemic began.
Department of the Treasury data confirm that as of June 30, only $3 billion had been used to support low-income families with their rent, or less than 6.5 percent of the allocated budget.
Despite the fact that more than 6.5 million households are estimated to be in need of rental assistance, less than 10 % of these households have received help, so the problem does not lie with the extension of the eviction moratorium but with the slow implementation of the program designed to support low-income families with their rent.
Biden himself acknowledged the slowness with which money intended to support families has been distributed in a speech on Friday, where he said, “There can be no excuse for any state or locality not accelerating funds to landlords and tenants that have been hurt during this pandemic.”
The crisis that the housing moratorium is exposing small landlords to
Landlords, on the other hand, are having serious problems with the moratorium, since on the one hand they are unable to collect from the people who occupy their homes, and on the other hand they have to face mortgage payments and other costs implicit in maintaining a home. Currently, approximately 11.5 million adults are behind in their rent payments.
Deprived of legal tools to dispose of their housing as they see best, homeowners have had to incur onerous loans and refinancing plans to pay off housing credit and remain responsible for mortgage costs.
The measures imposed by Biden disproportionately affect seniors and retirees, as many choose to lease their property as extra income for their retirement in old age.
“Each passing month further escalates the risk of losing an ever-increasing amount of rental housing, ultimately jeopardizing the availability of safe, sustainable and affordable housing for all Americans,” explained Bob Pinnegar, president of the National Apartment Association. According to Pinnegar, eviction moratoriums “leave landlords with insurmountable debt.”
According to the 2020 census, most landlords in the United States are individuals who own about 23 million homes, spread across 17 million properties.
With more and more people defaulting on their rent payments, homeowners will find it more difficult to pay their mortgage payments or settlements. The Biden administration further exacerbates the U.S. housing crisis with a seemingly well-intentioned measure.