The Centers for Disease Control has halted rental evictions nationwide through the end of the year.
By Roland T. Flackfizer
Image by Morning Brew
In an unexpected and unprecedented move yesterday, The CDC has issued a federal moratorium on evictions through the end of this year. This comes on the heels of Congress’ recent inability to come to any agreement on additional legislation regarding stimulus extension, evictions, or further federally backed SBA loans. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced yesterday it would temporarily suspend the bulk of rental evictions for those unable to pay rent as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The move has been met with cheers from pundits right and left. CNN characterized the measures as “broader than eviction protections already in place.” For his part, President Trump gets to take credit for delivering what radical activists and working class conservatives have both been demanding nationwide.
In a news teleconference with the media, CDC officials said the orders will apply to all U.S. citizens who qualify for the CARES Act.
The order comes with a few minor caveats. Renters will be required to demonstrate “best efforts possible to seek government assistance to make their rental payments.” They will also need to “declare that they are unable to pay rent due to Covid financial hardship” and that they “will likely become homeless or move into congregate housing settings if they are evicted.”
“This will be a declaration presented to the landlord, if that landlord approaches a tenant with an intent to evict,” the CDC representatives told the media. A landlord refusing the order “would become a criminal offence.”
“To the extent that there is a dispute between the landlord and the renter about whether or not an eviction protection is in place here, it can be filed, and that would be for the local Though some have questioned whether the CDC has legal authority to stop evictions nationwide, the agency contends this falls well within their federal authority.
According to CDC officials, “the CDC director has authority to take measures that he’s reasonably necessary to mitigate the spread of communicable disease. Congress has delegated broad authority to HHS, the Surgeon General and CDC, to take reasonable efforts to combat the spread of communicable diseases, and frankly I think it makes sense for those authorities abroad because we don’t know for any given situation or scenario what steps will be needed to stop the spread,” an administration official said. “I think, in this particular order, the CDC has made a very compelling case that it is quite problematic at this particular time. It’s focused on this particular pandemic, which is obviously the uniquely powerful grasp in the nation’s entire history in terms of the effect it’s had that for a bunch of reasons in particular, that the home has been sort of the focal point of people social distancing and building, sort of a safe space themselves over the past few months, and also the fact that if people get kicked out, they may end up in overcrowded congregated living facilities or homeless shelters, and that is a potential recipe for a big spread of COVID-19.”