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By John Kruzel 06/24/2021
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday announced a one-month extension to the nationwide pause on evictions put in place amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The eviction moratorium, which was set to expire this month, will now last through July under the new order, which is expected to be the final extension, the CDC said.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a historic threat to the nation’s public health,” the CDC said in a statement. “Keeping people in their homes and out of crowded or congregate settings — like homeless shelters — by preventing evictions is a key step in helping to stop the spread of COVID-19.”
The CDC order was enacted in September under then-President Trump and subsequently extended by Congress and President Biden.
The federal moratorium allows tenants who have lost income during the pandemic to protect themselves from eviction by declaring under penalty of perjury that they have made their best effort to pay rent and would face overcrowded conditions if evicted.
The extended protections come as landlords and property owners have sought to evict tens of thousands of cash-strapped renters from their homes and as federal rental aid continues to make its way to needy tenants.
Some state governments, which bear responsibility for distributing more than $45 billion in federally funded rental assistance, have been slow to make disbursements.
A Biden administration official who briefed reporters on background Thursday was unable to provide specific details on how much federal assistance has been provided by states to date, but added that “we are seeing a trajectory of increase.”
The eviction pause has also faced numerous legal challenges, including an emergency petition currently pending at the Supreme Court.
Earlier this month, a group of landlords asked the high court to effectively end the moratorium, writing in a court brief that property owners have lost $13 billion each month under the eviction freeze.
That petition came after a federal judge in Washington, D.C., ruled in May that the moratorium amounted to an unlawful government overreach. But the judge agreed to delay enforcement of that ruling while the Biden administration appealed. A federal appeals court declined to lift the stay.
Judges in other parts of the country have reached various conclusions about the policy’s lawfulness, creating a patchwork of legal interpretations nationwide.
The Justice Department continues to defend the moratorium’s lawfulness in court and earlier this month urged the Supreme Court to reject the landlords’ request to effectively end the policy.