Eviction Protections Extended for Two More Months
By: Nick Thompson
The new incoming Center for Disease Control (CDC) director Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH under the Biden-Harris administration extended the current moratorium for evictions until “at least” March 31, 2021. President Biden is calling on Congress to pass a longer eviction moratorium tied with substantial rental assistance in the next relief package.
To our knowledge, residents still are required to fill out a declarative statement to avoid eviction proceedings as a result of non-payment. Declarative statements can be found in 25 different languages here.
We know from past research that any gap in eviction protection more rapidly spreads COVID-19 and increases COVID-19 related deaths. In the 16 weeks last year that Texas renters were not protected from eviction, 148,530 cases of COVID-19 and 4,456 COVID-19 deaths may have been prevented with a uniform eviction moratorium (Leifheit et al).
While extending the eviction moratorium is a momentous first step, the new administration and Congress must work together to enact both short-term and long-term solutions for struggling households and people already experiencing homelessness. Some of these short-term policies could include:
- Creating a universal moratorium against evictions without the need for a declarative statement.
- Expand this moratorium to all steps of the eviction process.
- Create better enforcement mechanisms for renters to file complaints against landlords who violate the moratorium.
- Expungement of COVID-19 related eviction records.
Congress and the Biden-Harris administration must also push for broader reforms and funding including (but not limited to):
- Significant rental assistance for renters and landlords.
- Prohibiting housing discrimination for LGBTQIA+ folks and on the basis of source of income.
- Widening the supply of affordable, accessible housing.
Other recommended materials from our partners on suggested next steps for the Biden-Harris administration and their cabinet: