COVID-19 – Stories are emerging about how thousands of people who thought they were protected from being evicted from their rental homes until January were not protected at all. Those who are protected have to win a legal fight first. The Washington Post reports:
… rather than offer a bubble of stability in the midst of the pandemic, the federal response has injected confusion into housing courts. Because of the order’s wording, which gives local judges room for interpretation, and pushback from landlords, evictions have continued. According to Princeton University’s Eviction Lab, from Sept. 4, the date the CDC order took effect, through Oct. 17, 20,523 evictions were filed in the 22 cities monitored by the project’s researchers.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention got involved with the evictions issue by saying that if more people were homeless it would widen the pandemic. But unlike state or local bans against evictions, the federal order required renters to sign a document and present it to the landlord. The Post explains:
The order, which applies to individuals earning less than $99,000 annually, or $198,000 for couples, has failed to protect people for several reasons. For tenants who sign the declaration, it does not erase any of the rent or late fees they owe, nor does it provide financial relief to landlords. “Renters and rental housing providers alike have bills that need to be paid, but lack the funds to pay them,” Greg Brown, the senior vice president of government affairs at the National Apartment Association, a leading landlord advocacy group, said. “The only policy that addresses these issues is a dedicated rental assistance program.”
Read the full article at Poynter.