Above photo: Protestors demonstrate during a ‘No Evictions, No Police’ national day of action protest on September 1, 2020 in New York City.
Tenants and progressive leaders who cried out for a national action must now grapple with two truths.
This eviction moratorium will save lives, but everything about it is a page out of Trump’s re-election playbook.
On Tuesday, when the rent was due once again and as 43 million Americans braced for possible eviction, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a nationwide eviction moratorium that will run from Friday through Dec. 31.
This eviction moratorium, unlike the one under the CARES Act policy that expired in late July, appears to apply to all rental units nationwide. Now, regardless of whether they receive federal funding or financing, landlords may not evict their tenants based on their inability to pay the rent.
The order applies wherever there is not a more protective state moratorium in effect, like in Missouri and Alabama, where the governors never issued statewide eviction protections. But it does not override any jurisdictions that provide the same or greater protections for tenants.
The CDC order responds to months of outcry from organizers, tenants, and policymakers, taking a decisive stance: ending evictions is a public health imperative. The order reads: “In the context of a pandemic, eviction moratoria—like quarantine, isolation, and social distancing—can be an effective public health measure utilized to prevent the spread of communicable disease.”
In order to benefit from this protection, tenants will have to declare their inability to pay to their landlord, using a form provided by the CDC (and included in the text of Tuesday’s order). Tenants are eligible to make this declaration if they earn less than $99,000 annually or less than $198,000 as a household, were not required to report income in 2019, or received a stimulus check.
The CDC’s national eviction moratorium may keep millions of tenants in their homes until the new year, and in turn it could save untold numbers of lives as COVID-19 remains an active threat. But, of course, it’s not so simple.