If it feels like this is a topic that we have written about already before, it is because we have. As you may know, there has been an eviction moratorium in place since the beginning of the pandemic. While this has provided some relief for renters, it has shifted the burden directly onto the landlords. It should be noted that most of these landlords in the U.S. are “mom and pop” landlords with 4 or less rental properties. Needless to say, for many of these Americans providing rental housing, this has been financially devastating.
Constitution? What Constitution?
The eviction moratorium was originally designed to provide temporary relief to renters that were negatively impacted financially by the pandemic. In particular, the initial lockdowns prevented many of these renters from earning wages, thus they were unable to pay their rents. It should be noted that this program simply delayed the rental payments and did not forgive them. All the meanwhile, the landlords were still responsible for covering expenses such as mortgage payments, property taxes, insurance, and general maintenance.
Most recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ruled to extend the eviction moratorium yet again to October 3, 2021. Interestingly, the Supreme Court had previously ruled this measure as unconstitutional. Not to mention, since when does the CDC have the authority to make decisions on housing? If the Supreme Court has already ruled on this as unconstitutional yet these rulings are ignored, why do we even have a constitution? Why do we even have a Supreme Court for that matter?
During a news conference with President Biden on August 3, 2021, he said the following regarding the latest extension of the eviction moratorium by the CDC: “The bulk of the constitutional scholarship says that it’s not likely to pass constitutional muster.” This is eye opening as it directly defies the constitution and the commander-in-chief admitted as much.
The end of the eviction moratorium?
Just this week, The Supreme Court struck down the eviction moratorium on August 26, 2021. Although obvious, The Supreme Court noted that the CDC exceeded its authority regarding this eviction ban. In other words, the actions of the CDC in this case have been unlawful and everyone should know this. For now, landlords may be able to operate their businesses and have more access to their properties as they should. With this said, evictions should always be the last recourse for landlords when dealing with tenants.
Meanwhile, there are still significant funds available to renters through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). These funds are continuing to be disbursed with greater urgency, however only 11% of the program’s total funds had been distributed by the end of July. It is critical that these funds be disbursed as quickly as possible since it is estimated that 11 million renters in the U.S. are behind on payments. Furthermore, approximately 3.6 million households are potentially facing eviction in the coming months. To prevent further abuse that has already taken place with the eviction moratorium, perhaps the distribution of the rental assistance money should go directly to the landlords on behalf of the renters receiving the aid? This would go a long ways in preventing the misappropriation of these funds.
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