CDC Will Likely Extend Eviction Ban

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The agency will most likely agree to not end the current ban at the end of March.

Millions of Americans have struggled financially during the pandemic, and that has led many to fall behind on their rent. The one thing that's been keeping tenants in their homes? Eviction bans.

A federal eviction moratorium currently prevents landlords from kicking tenants out due to the nonpayment of rent. But that ban is set to expire at the end of March. If that's allowed to happen, it could leave many renters in a very dangerous spot.

Fortunately, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is taking steps to prevent that from happening. The agency has sent a proposal to the Office of Management and Budget for regulatory review. Experts say that means the CDC is working to keep the existing eviction ban in place. That's good news for renters who would otherwise be at risk for homelessness.

A lifeline for renters

The recently signed $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill includes a round of $1,400 stimulus checks, boosted unemployment benefits, and $45 billion in rental assistance. To qualify for that rental assistance, applicants must fulfill one of these requirements:

  • Have one unemployed person (or more) in their household
  • Have experienced income loss during the pandemic
  • Have incurred substantial expenses due to the pandemic

On top of this, applicants must be able to prove they're at risk of becoming homeless. Typically, showing proof of a past-due rent notice satisfies this requirement. Also, to qualify for assistance, an applicants' 2020 income can't exceed 80% of their area's median income.

Rental assistance may cover up to 18 months of overdue rent. There's just one problem -- many states don't have their rental assistance programs set up yet. That means the money can't go out right away. For this reason, extending the eviction ban becomes crucial to help prevent renters from falling into a trap where they're due assistance that won't arrive in time.

Unfortunately, extending the eviction ban could hurt mom and pop landlords. These are the individuals who make a living from their rental properties and rely on rent payments to cover their own costs. But seeing as how stimulus payments have already started to hit Americans' bank accounts, some tenants who are eligible for rental assistance may now be in a position to at least make partial rent payments until more substantial aid arrives.

Of course, it's in a landlords' best interest to avoid eviction, too, as it can be a costly, lengthy process. The good news is that there is money out there for rental assistance that should go directly to landlords. Those who are eligible for aid generally won't get a check, but rather, that money will be sent to their landlords. The bad news is that landlords will have to sit tight a bit longer until it arrives.

While an extension of the current eviction ban is not guaranteed to happen, now experts agree it's likely. That extension would serve its purpose as long as it prevents some landlords from rushing to evict tenants when there's a better solution.

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