In welcome news for millions of people trying to dig themselves out from the financial hole the pandemic has created, the CDC on Monday extended its moratorium on evictions for another three months.
This is the third time the ban on evictions for not paying rent has been pushed back. President Joe Biden called for an extension of the moratorium until March 31 as soon as he entered office. With that deadline approaching, renters have been given another necessary reprieve. CDC director Rochelle Walensky said this extension was needed not just for humanitarian purposes, but for public safety reasons:
“The Covid-19 pandemic has presented a historic threat to the nation’s public health. Keeping people in their homes and out of crowded or congregate settings — like homeless shelters — by preventing evictions is a key step in helping to stop the spread of Covid-19.”
Some 12 million renters in the U.S. were behind on rent payments as of mid-March. More than $50 billion in federal rent relief aid has been included in the last two stimulus packages, including Biden’s American Rescue Plan. But that may not be enough to cover the full tab, as one report estimates there is about $57 billion in back rent owed.
That is one reason why groups representing American landlords say the CDC is putting all the financial burden on property owners, some who haven’t received payments in a year.
A key point to make: The moratorium is NOT rent relief. Once the ban is lifted, renters will be expected to pay their entire back rent or set up some sort of payment plan with their landlord to catch up. Otherwise, those tenants could face eviction.