Rent-Free: Eviction Ban Leaves Landlords in Lurch

The rent is still not due for millions of property dwellers across the country, after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently extended the federal moratorium on evictions through the end of June. The moratorium, enacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has now stretched well beyond a year despite an ongoing legal fight by landlords and a federal judge declaring it unconstitutional.

The CDC order is aimed at helping renters who are struggling financially due to the pandemic, but critics argue it's actually bad for everyone involved. "What you're seeing is residents building up more and more unpaid rental debt that is going to come due at some point, and that's not doing them any good," says Gregory Brown, senior vice president of government affairs with the National Apartment Association (NAA). "At the same time, housing providers still have to pay their own one is telling them don't pay your taxes, no bank is saying you don't have to pay your mortgage, and the staffs at these properties still need to get paid."

Brown tells KTRH that many property managers have worked since last year to try and accommodate struggling renters. "But now, (property owners) are running out of reserves, they're running out of funds to keep themselves afloat, let alone taking care of their residents," he says.

The NAA and other critics of the eviction moratorium are hoping a federal appeals court will agree with the lower court and strike down the moratorium as unconstitutional. In the meantime, the ban threatens to reduce the already-tight supply of affordable housing on the market. "This type of action puts the smaller owners in even further financial jeopardy, and could ultimately result in them losing their property---the bank taking the property back," says Brown. "And then that housing gets lost, and the people you're trying to help are the ones who ultimately get harmed."

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