As part of the CARES relief package, the CDC has extended the eviction moratorium order through June 30, 2021, in an effort to reduce the spread of Covid-19. This is great news for tenants who have been financially impacted by the pandemic and cannot pay their rent. As long as they are able to meet certain criteria, they can submit a form to their landlord, who will have to let them remain in their unit without the consequence of eviction for unpaid rent. Any landlord who does not cooperate is subject to excessive fines and possibly jail time. While this program is well intended, it has proven to be a confusing process with landlords and tenants not entirely sure of what is required of them. It has been exceptionally straining on landlords who have gone without pay for months. They are struggling to cover the mortgage on their properties.
So far, 40 million tenants have been allowed to remain in their units despite nonpayment of rent.
That means that landlords have to come up with the money to pay for those 40 million units. Not every landlord has that kind of money, many of them have been taken financial hits from the pandemic as well. They are worried about paying their own bills and do not like this extension. Many landlords and lawyers have argued that CDC has no place in topics like eviction and does not want to honor the moratorium. A federal judge in Texas ruled the moratorium unconstitutional since it oversteps its authority. Property owners have filed class-action lawsuits against the CDC, and the cases are still pending, but the cases against the CDC look promising for property owners.
Before the extension of the eviction moratorium, landlords were preparing to evict tenants left and right. Some have lost tens of thousands of dollars in the last year due to their tenants not paying rent. This is putting their properties at risk of foreclosure, unpaid property taxes, and leaving no room for repairs on the property since there is no money coming in. If the landlords aren’t paying their mortgage, what happens then? The banks can’t go unpaid forever. How are we ever going to get back on track?
Once the moratorium ends, which as of now is at the end of June, all unpaid rent plus fees will be due. For many tenants, that could be up to an entire years’ rent due at once. Landlords will either have to attempt to collect that balance to recoup their losses or have to evict the tenant. The eviction moratorium is only delaying the inevitable. We will see a surge in evictions, all at once, since landlords will either need to find new tenants who are capable of paying monthly rent or face foreclosure. This is going to devastate people’s credit while leaving them without a place to live.
The pandemic has affected millions of Americans in one way or another, and the government has had to try to develop solutions. Unfortunately, there are no easy answers, and what is helping one group of people is causing negative consequences for another. We can only hope that some other form of assistance that benefits both tenants and landlords is in the works, but, quite honestly, it doesn’t look like that is the case.