CDC bans evictions until end of 2020 to curb spread of COVID-19, but ‘it could collapse’

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The National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention banned evictions and seizures for the remainder of the year, in an order issued Tuesday citing evictions as a health hazard during the coronavirus pandemic.

Lawyers for those threatened with eviction expressed relief on Wednesday, but predicted the order would be challenged in court by homeowners.

” This is unheard of. We kind of expect litigation on this, ”said Stephanie Johnson, senior counsel with North Florida Legal Services. “He could collapse. “

The CDC order says a moratorium on evictions will protect public health, while evictions by the millions would accelerate the transmission and death of the coronavirus. It does not deal with provisions to help homeowners and lenders pay their own bills without collecting rent and mortgage payments.

“COVID-19 presents a historic threat to public health,” says the CDC order. “In the context of a pandemic, moratoriums on evictions – such as quarantine, isolation and social distancing – can be an effective public health measure used to prevent the spread of communicable diseases. “

The order continues: “In the absence of state and local protections, up to 30 to 40 million people in America could be at risk of deportation. A wave of evictions on this scale would be unprecedented in modern times.

Johnson said she and her colleagues are still evaluating the order, which herself recognizes the potential that parts could be deemed invalid. It remains to be seen whether the CDC’s authority over public health extends to authority over housing, she said.

The standstill order cites five criteria for qualifying, summarized here:

  • Unable to pay full rent or accommodation due to significant loss of income or extraordinary medical expenses;
  • Do your best to make partial payments
  • Make every effort to obtain government assistance to pay for overdue rent or housing;
  • Expect to earn no more than $ 99,000 in annual income (or $ 198,000 if you are filing jointly)
  • Evictions would likely force the resident to homelessness or unsafe shared accommodation.

CDC moratorium does not interfere with Florida decree issued on August 31 by Governor Ron DeSantis. The Florida moratorium bans evictions and foreclosures until the end of September for tenants and landlords who convince the courts that they are behind in their payments due to lost wages, lost money. employment or family illness directly due to COVID-19.

The Shimberg Center for Housing Studies at the University of Florida estimates that 800,000 Floridians are “cost-burdened tenants” at risk of eviction for late payments.

The Trump administration announced the move on Tuesday, saying it would temporarily halt residential evictions to curb the spread of COVID-19 infections.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin revealed during a congressional hearing that the Executive Decree of the CDC would be issued. It runs until December 31st.

“I think you will be very pleased with the impact this will have,” Mnuchin told Representative Maxine Waters, a Democrat from California, at the hearing.

The ordinance does not relieve individuals of the obligation to pay rent or prevent the collection of fees, penalties or interest as a result of failure to pay rent or make housing payments by default. timely.

Congress passed an eviction ban earlier this year, but it expired in late July.

Allison Stevens, reporter for the Washington bureau of States Newsroom, contributed to this report.


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