In our last blog, we looked further into the federal eviction moratorium, how it relates to President Biden’s “American Rescue Plan,” and the issues that both landlords and renters have faced. While many were hoping that Biden’s approach to the issue would be an improvement compared to where we were last year, the fact is that his policy has been no different than the eviction moratorium passed by the CDC under the Trump administration.

This has already proven to insufficient to protect renters during the pandemic or keeping landlords on their feet, creating further economic strain and undermining attempts to end the COVID-19 pandemic.1 Inconsistent, often conflicting rulings (some in landlord’s favor, others in the renter’s favor), have left both sides unsatisfied,2 offering only temporary relief with no long-term solutions to their problems. The fact is that landlords and renters cannot rely on government assistance to carry them through this situation, so it is more mutually beneficial to work together, supporting each other as best they can.

On the Same Sinking Ship

As we’ve discussed in several of our past blogs, the eviction moratorium has been harmful to renters and landlords alike. While eviction moratoriums postpone housing instability, they do not prevent evictions because the rent is still due. As a result, renters are continuing to accrue more back rent than they can pay.3 Additionally, the longer it takes to process aid applications, which can take its toll of financially stressed tenants, the longer it will take for landlords to get paid.4 These issues have forced some smaller landlords serving lower-income populations may need to resort to selling their properties.5

Granted, there are still some efforts being made to provide relief: the Biden administration has extended mortgage relief, providing up to six months of additional mortgage payment forbearance for borrowers who entered forbearance on or before June 30.6  Biden also called on Congress to pass his “American Rescue Plan,” which would implement a Homeowners Assistance Fund of $10 billion to help struggling homeowners catch up on mortgage payments/utility bills.7 Yet there is still little in the way of certainty right now, and if any further extensions are made to the federal eviction moratorium without offering further aid and support, it could cripple rental housing providers, while also leaving many renters without homes.8

The Importance of Self-Reliance and Mutual Support

The unfortunate truth of the matter is that landlords and renters cannot depend on the local, state, or federal government to offer assistance in terms of how to manage the current situation. Instead, they need to collaborate, with landlords work to “get the tenant help [in order to] help the landlord.”9 There are several ways to approach this: for one, landlords can apply for relief funds on behalf of their tenants (as long as they have the tenant’s permission to do so). This can be quite beneficial, since many small landlords are ineligible for most COVID-19 small business aid.10

Landlords and tenants have both experienced some déjà vu amid the Biden administration’s extension of the Trump administration’s federal eviction moratorium, and though there is hope that these efforts will have greater long-term benefits, for now it has largely been a repeat of the same problems that hurt landlords and tenants back in 2020. Given the failure of the Biden administration to neatly amend these issues, landlords, and tenants will once again need to navigate the consequences of the federal eviction moratorium.

We at CCSK strongly recommend keeping an eye on the news and major court cases relevant to the moratorium, along with communicating with one’s tenants as opposed to standing against them.

Endnotes

1.  President Biden Extends Federal Eviction Moratorium. National Low Income Housing Coalition. (2021, January 25). https://nlihc.org/resource/president-biden-extends-federal-eviction-moratorium.

2.  Miranda, L., &; McCausland, P. (2021, January 29). Biden’s plan to halt evictions does not address ‘structural problems,’ housing advocates say. NBC. https://www.nbcnews.com/business/business-news/biden-s-plan-halt-evictions-does-not-address-structural-problems-n1255590.

3.  Miranda, L., &; McCausland, P

4.  Rowan, L. (2021, February 3). CDC Extends Renters’ Eviction Moratorium Through March – Is More Rent Relief Next? Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/advisor/personal-finance/eviction-moratorium-extended-to-end-of-march/.

5.  Rowan, L.

6.  Mastrangelo, D. (2021, February 16). Biden extending mortgage relief, moratorium on foreclosures through June. The Hill. https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/538940-biden-extending-mortage-relief-moratorium-on-foreclosures.

7.  Mastrangelo, D.

8.  National Apartment Association. (2021, January 29). The CDC Extends the Federal Eviction Moratorium until March 31. https://www.naahq.org/news-publications/cdc-extends-federal-eviction-moratorium-until-march-31.

9.  Rowan, L.

10.  Rowan, L.

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