The Biden administration has enacted a new federal eviction moratorium that will focus on areas that have been hit the hardest by the Delta variant of COVID-19, the government agency announced Aug. 3.
The new order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will last through Oct. 3. The moratorium targets renters living in communities that are experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases and is intended to give renters more time to obtain rent relief and for vaccination rates to increase.
“This moratorium is the right thing to do to keep people in their homes and out of congregate settings where COVID-19 spreads,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky in a statement. “It is imperative that public health authorities act quickly to mitigate such an increase of evictions, which could increase the likelihood of new spikes in SARS-CoV-2 transmission.”
The announcement comes just days after the federal eviction moratorium expired. The order was first enacted in September 2020 and had been extended several times. In late June, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 vote to keep the ban in place until July 31. Landlord trade groups including the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) and the National Apartment Association (NAA) have called on the Biden administration to end the nationwide eviction ban, while renter advocacy groups have long supported keeping moratoriums in place.
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Like the previous eviction moratorium put into place by the agency, an individual must meet certain criteria to be protected under the order, including earning no more than $99,000 in annual income or $198,000 if filing jointly. In the latest iteration, an individual must also live in a U.S. county that is experiencing “substantial or high” rates of transmission levels of COVID-19, as defined by the CDC.
There have been nearly 35 million cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. since January 2020 and almost 610,000 deaths, according to the CDC. In early July of this year, cases began to surge, rising from 19,000 on July 1 to 103,000 cases by July 30. The agency expects case counts to continue to rise over the next month.
NMHC responded to the CDC’s announcement of a new ban by saying that the decision falls short in helping renters and landlords, urging Congress and the Biden Administration to “remove red tape” and streamline the distribution of emergency rental assistance to those in need.
“This move does nothing to speed the delivery of real solutions for America’s renters and ignores the unsustainable and unfair economic burden places on millions of housing providers—jeopardizing their financial stability and threatening the loss of affordable housing stock nationwide,” NMHC said in a statement released shortly after the moratorium was announced.