Biden Administration Extends Eviction Moratorium – But Not for Everyone
President Joe Biden’s administration extended the federal eviction moratorium through September 30, 2021, however, it does not apply to all of the estimated seven million Americans who are behind on rent.
“Today, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) are extending the moratorium on single-family real estate owned (REO) evictions until September 30, 2021. The REO eviction moratorium applies to properties that have been acquired by an Enterprise through foreclosure or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure transactions,” the FHFA announced in a statement on Friday.
“The pandemic continues to have an outsized impact on the ability of Americans to meet their monthly rent or mortgage payments. Today’s extension of the eviction moratorium protects particularly vulnerable Americans who otherwise would be at risk of losing a place to live,” said Acting FHFA Director Sandra L. Thompson.
The United States Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention overstepped its authority after it extended the ban until July 31st, although the Court allowed it to remain in place until that date.
Biden has urged various federal agencies to enact their own extensions to protect hundreds of thousands of financially strapped families from potentially becoming homeless.
“In light of the Supreme Court’s ruling, the President calls on Congress to extend the eviction moratorium to protect such vulnerable renters and their families without delay. In addition, he has asked the U.S. Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Agriculture, and Veterans Affairs to extend their respective eviction moratoria through the end of September, which will provide continued protection for households living in federally-insured, single-family properties. The President has also asked these and other departments to do everything in their power so that owners and operators of federally-assisted and financed rental housing seek Emergency Rental Assistance to make themselves whole while keeping families in secure and safe housing – before moving toward eviction,” the White House said in a statement on Thursday.
Biden has also called upon Congress to pass legislation to extend the moratorium. On Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) asked the CDC to do it despite what the Court said, telling reporters during a press conference at the Capitol that “we’d like the CDC to expand the moratorium. That’s where it can be done.”
Millions of renters are facing the prospect of getting kicked out of their homes despite tens of billions of federal dollars having been allocated to cover rental arrears from March of 2020 through June of 2021, and those rent relief programs have been plagued with delays and inefficient rollouts, leaving tenants and landlords in a state of frustrating – and potentially devastating – financial purgatory.
“The fact is, almost $50 billion was allocated — $46 billion. Less than 10 percent of that has been spent, around $3 billion,” Pelosi said. “Why should the renters be punished for the fact that the system did not put money in their pockets to pay the rent to the landlords?”
But Democrats, who hold a slim majority in the House of Representatives, have conflicting views on how far into the future the moratorium should remain in place. And with Congress having left Washington for its August recess, a bill is unlikely to materialize anytime soon.