The crippling economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic could force a wave of evictions across the United States as a federal ban and a patchwork of state moratoriums quickly expire, fair housing advocates and legal experts warned.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security, or CARES, Act that Congress passed in March provided a temporary moratorium on evictions, but it was for a fraction of the nation’s tenants and some homeowners — applying to those in federally subsidized housing or in housing with federally-backed mortgages. That is set to expire within the next month, NBC News reports.
This has left courts and local governments in many places to create a patchwork of policies and ever-changing guidance around evictions, creating greater uncertainty and confusion amid the coronavirus pandemic.
At the height of the pandemic, 42 states and the District of Columbia had statewide moratoriums on evictions in place, covering millions of renters, but presently, a little more than a dozen states have some kind of eviction protections in place, Emily Benfer, a law professor at Wake Forest University, said.
“So now, less than half the country is covered by an eviction moratorium that isn’t federal in nature,” she said. “And as the unemployment insurance expires at the end of July, along with the majority of the remaining eviction moratoriums, we can expect to see a severe eviction crisis in the United States.”