Clock Is Ticking on Moratorium as Evictions Loom

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That’s how many days are left until a nationwide moratorium on evictions expires, putting millions owing overdue rent at risk of losing their housing. 

The temporary ban on evictions, imposed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as part of efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19, is set to expire on March 31 unless it’s extended for a third time. In place since September, the moratorium prohibits physical evictions due to financial hardship in the pandemic.

With the clock ticking, government officials are facing pressure from housing advocates to not only extend the moratorium until the pandemic is over, but make it automatic and apply to all stages of evictions. Right now, renters must submit paperwork and landlords can still file court proceedings. More than 2,270 organizations signed a letter to the White House and CDC circulated by the National Low Income Housing Coalition this week.

The CDC moratorium hasn’t been as effective as it could have been, as evidenced by areas with local moratoriums having fewer eviction filings than those without, according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office that relied on filings to measure general impact. For example, during a specific week in December, eviction filings were down 91% from the year-earlier period in jurisdictions with active local moratoriums, but in places where renters were protected only by the CDC order, there were just 36% fewer evictions.