On Sept. 1, 2020, toward the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the CDC enacted an “eviction moratorium” barring the eviction of certain renters.
Put in place out of concern that evicted families might further spread the coronavirus by moving in with relatives, the moratorium was set to expire on March 31, 2021.
Only two days before the moratorium would have run out, the CDC announced it would be extended through the end of June, according to The Associated Press.
The decision to extend the order was made despite a precipitous drop in the number of reported COVID-19 deaths in the U.S.
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) April 5, 2021
Less than 300 new COVID deaths were reported on Sunday. While some claim these decreases are because states neglected to report COVID deaths during the Easter holiday, the number of reported deaths due to the virus has been fairly steadily dropping since mid-January.
Landlord advocates and advocacy groups have remained largely opposed to the CDC order.
According to The AP, there are at least six prominent lawsuits currently “challenging the authority of the CDC ban.”
The decisions have been split — three judges have sided with the ban and three have ruled against it.
“Though politically popular and well-intentioned, eviction moratoria push renters and their housing providers closer to the brink of financial ruin,” Bob Pinnegar, president and CEO of the National Apartment Association, told NPR on March 29.
On Wednesday, Patrick McCloud, the CEO of the Virginia Apartment Management Association, spoke with The Western Journal regarding the order’s impact on the rental industry.
With regard to the CDC’s right to issue such an order, McCloud tends to agree with the judges who have ruled against it.
“They cite [eviction] as a public health hazard. I would probably be hard-pressed to say how it’s that much bigger of a hazard than going out to Walmart,” McCloud told The Western Journal.
According to McCloud, the effects of the order are “very state-specific.”
While the fallout has been negligible for landlords in Virginia, landlords in other states are not faring as well.
McCloud explained this is because landlords in Virginia are required to apply for rental assistance on behalf of their tenants before moving forward with eviction for non-payment of rent.
Also, under state law, the tenant has to cooperate with the landlord in this process.
Therefore, in states like Virginia, tenants would receive rental assistance before the eviction process would even have gotten under way.
McCloud further pointed out that “only a small fraction” of people would be affected by the moratorium, given that the cap on rental assistance is so high. (In the Richmond area where McCloud is from, assistance caps out at individuals making roughly $50,000 a year).
In other states where landlords cannot apply for their tenants to receive rental assistance, the CDC moratorium is having a much more detrimental effect.
“There are other states where a landlord cannot apply for the tenant. The tenant has to apply,” McCloud told The Western Journal.
“Well, if there is no potential for eviction, there is no reason for a tenant to go through the hoops of trying to apply for the assistance. There is no consequence for not getting the assistance.”
“It even creates a mixed messaging in Virginia where we have pretty good protections. I’ve had a call from a tenant who asked me, ‘Well, should I just not worry with rent and just get the CDC delcaration?'”
In states where rent relief is not provided, property managers are forced to eat the cost of renters invoking the CDC order.
“If you have a good rent-relief program, it doesn’t have an effect; if you have a bad rent-relief program or a ineffective rent-relief program, then it’s going to start hurting property management,” McCloud said.
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