New legislation could revive the moratorium on evictions and protect millions of tenants.
Here’s what you need to know.
Moratorium of expulsion
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Representative Cori Bush (D-MO) have a solution to help millions of tenants stay in their homes in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. After the United States Supreme Court blocked the Biden administration’s previous attempt to extend a federal moratorium on evictions, Warren and Bush will introduce new legislation this week, as first reported United States today, which would revive the federal moratorium on evictions. Here’s how:
- The new legislation is called the Keeping Renters Safe Act of 2021;
- The legislation would protect tenants from eviction by amending Section 361 of the Public Health Service Act;
- The Public Health Services Act already empowers the federal government to respond to communicable diseases such as Covid-19;
- The Keeping Renters Safe Act would effectively classify evictions as contributing to the spread of a communicable disease, so the legislation would allow the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) curb the spread of communicable diseases;
- Through legislation, the HHS and the CDC (which is part of the HHS) would gain permanent power to implement federal moratoria on evictions to deal with medical and health emergencies such as the Covid-19 pandemic;
- Warren and Bush say evicting tenants during the Covid-19 pandemic, for example, is more than an economic problem—it’s a health crisis. Why? Moratoriums on evictions could result in at least hundreds of thousands of Americans becoming homeless, Warren and Bush argue, which could increase the risk of the spread of Covid-19.
“This pandemic is not over, and we must do all we can to protect tenants from the damage and trauma of unnecessary evictions, which disrupt the lives of those struggling to get back on their feet,” Warren said. United States today. “Pushing hundreds of thousands of people out of their homes will only exacerbate this public health crisis and cause economic damage to families, their communities and our overall recovery. “
Moratorium on evictions: what happened?
- In response to the emerging threat of Covid-19, Congress created a federal moratorium on evictions in early 2020;
- In September 2020, President Donald Trump signed an executive order authorizing the CDC to impose a temporary federal moratorium on evictions, which ended evictions in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic;
- The purpose of the federal moratorium on evictions was to prevent landlords who had the legal right to evict a tenant from doing so to protect tenants and prevent the potential spread of Covid-19;
- Following several extensions of the moratorium on deportations, President Joe Biden has extended the federal moratorium on executive deportations by 30 days;
- Biden then announced a further extension of the federal moratorium on evictions until October;
- However, the US Supreme Court found that the CDC did not have the legal authority of Congress to impose a federal moratorium on evictions;
- Therefore, to impose a federal moratorium on evictions, the court ruled that Congress should provide such authorization;
- The Keeping Renters Safe Act comes in response to the United States Supreme Court’s finding that the CDC did not have the legal authority to create a federal moratorium on evictions because Congress did not allow it.
Moratorium on evictions: next steps
At this point, the Keeping Renters Safe Act is only a legislative proposal. Congress would have to pass the legislation and Biden would have to sign it for the bill to become law. There is no guarantee that Congress would pass such legislation. For example, Congress couldn’t agree this summer on a federal moratorium on evictions, prompting Biden to announce in August an extension of the federal moratorium on evictions. That said, the emergence of the Delta variant and other variants – as well as the state of the economy – could convince lawmakers to act by passing this legislation. If Congress passes this legislation, it could provide the necessary Congressional authorization for the HHS and CDC to act on a permanent basis following a public health crisis such as the Covid-19 pandemic. Homeowner groups, likely to oppose the legislation, have also suffered financially from the Covid-19 pandemic. The existence of a federal moratorium on evictions suspended evictions for about a year and a half.
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