Congress doesn’t extend eviction ruling

The Biden administration won’t extend the eviction moratorium that expires July 31. 

White House press secretary Jen Pasaki said it was out of the administration’s hands because of the Supreme Court eviction ruling. It’s now up to Congress to extend it and there are consequences to doing so, says the National Association of Realtors.

Without the moratorium extended, potentially 10 million American renters could be at risk, according to this CNBC report. However, landlords and smaller rental providers are also facing economic hardship.

Best course: rental assistance, not moratorium

National Association of Realtors chief advocacy officer Shannon McGahn declared that Congress should be careful how they intervene. 

“NAR is prepared to oppose vigorously any unreasonable effort by Congress to extend the ban without assistance for small housing providers,” McGahn said. “We have argued all along that the best solution for all parties is rental assistance for tenants in need paid directly to housing providers. Nearly half of all rental housing in America [are] mom-and-pop operations, and these providers cannot continue to live in a state of financial hardship.” 

Rental assistance has been dreadfully slow getting out to tenants. 

Of the $46.5 billion emergency fund aimed at getting rent to tenants at risk of eviction, only $3 billion has been distributed, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Many low-income renters have made difficult decisions to stay afloat. 

“Renters who have remained caught up on rent may have done so by unsustainable means—using credit cards or loans, selling assets or drawing down savings, or borrowing from friends and family,” the report stated. 

The Council of Large Public Housing Authorities also believes in rental assistance programs, issuing this statement from Executive Director Sunia Zaterman, “Congress funded emergency rental assistance programs because they are the most cost-effective measure to avoid the destructive and demoralizing process of evictions and prevent poverty. We urge the Treasury and Housing and Urban Development Departments and the White House to continue to work closely together to distribute emergency rental assistance as quickly and efficiently as possible to stem the tide of evictions.” It’s not clear if they believe the assistance should be paid to the tenants directly or to the housing providers, which is what NAR is suggesting.

The Supreme Court ruling to end the eviction moratorium on July 31 came late last month with a 5-4 decision, only days after the administration renewed it for what officials intended to be the final time. Two justices joined the majority, including Justice Brett Kavanaugh. During the short ruling, Kavanaugh warned the administration not to renew it beyond July 31.