As the ultra-contagious delta variant of the coronavirus sweeps through the United States, as well as the rest of the world, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s eviction moratorium is set to expire Friday, ending the 15-month pause enacted at the peak of the health crisis in March 2020.

With 11 million Americans behind on rent, just over a handful of states with a statewide eviction moratorium and the distribution of federal rent relief funds clogged up at statehouses around the country, housing advocates are warning of an impending tsunami of evictions, but landlord groups say the federal moratorium’s lifting will serve to speed up the relief allocation process.

“The fact that moratoriums are still in place really plays a role here,” National Multifamily Housing Council Vice President of Construction, Development and Land Use Policy Paula Cino told Bisnow Friday. “They take away a sense of urgency to ramp up the distribution of funds.”

Despite a total of $46B in federal rent assistance, which is intended to cover both back and future rent for those whose employment was affected by the coronavirus pandemic, most of the funds have largely gone undistributed, leaving a time-sensitive gap in the system.

“The eviction moratorium is an incredibly important public health tool,” Citizens Housing Planning Council Executive Director Jessica Katz told Bisnow last month. “But it’s not going to get us very far if, at the end of the eviction moratorium, everybody is still in arrears and everybody gets evicted.”

 

Kelsey Neubauer for Bisnow New York City
July 25, 2021