The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today extended its eviction moratorium order until July 31, 2021, and indicated in a press release that "this is intended to be the final extension of the moratorium." Due to a previous court ruling in which NAHB took part, this order should not apply to NAHB members who were members of the association as of Oct. 23, 2020 when the case was filed.
Non-members and those who became new members of NAHB after October 2020 will need to comply with the CDC order. Moreover, all parties — NAHB members and non-members — must still comply with any state or local eviction moratoriums that remain in effect.
Recently, three separate federal courts have found that the CDC's moratorium is unlawful. In NAHB's case, the Northern District of Ohio found that Congress did not provided the CDC with the authority to issue such a moratorium. This extension should not alter that decision.
As noted in a previous NAHBNow post, the reason the court decision was set aside for all NAHB members — and not all landlords nationwide — is because NAHB was a plaintiff in the case and we had “representational standing.” This means NAHB was acting as a representative of its members who have been impacted by the moratorium. When an association wins a case like this, the decision applies to all its members.
Biden Administration Announces New Initiatives to Prevent Evictions
The administration is implementing a government-wide effort to raise awareness about emergency rental assistance, including tapping multiple federal agencies to take actions to inform tenants and landlords of available emergency rental assistance. The White House today also released a fact sheet announcing a series of actions the administration is taking to help state and local governments to prevent evictions. These include, but are not limited to, the changes from the Treasury’s guidance. The Administration is providing support and guidance to:
- Urge State and Local Courts to Participate in Eviction Diversion Efforts. Today, Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta is sending a letter to state courts encouraging them to adopt anti-eviction diversion practices. The Justice Department letter also directs courts to federal resources they can use to support diversion programs and to tools developed by the National Center for State Courts that can help judges ensure landlords and tenants have an opportunity to tap into available resources and mediate their dispute.
- Highlight that American Rescue Plan Funds for State and Local Governments and for Emergency Rental Assistance Can Be Used to Fund Eviction Diversion Plans, Including Counseling, Navigator, and Legal Services.
- Convene a White House Summit for Immediate Eviction Prevention Plans. Effective prevention of unnecessary evictions through deployment of ERA funds requires local strategies that strongly encourage alternatives to evictions. Eviction diversion strategies, where local legal systems require landlords and tenants to seek mediation — a process that is particularly likely to be successful with the deployment of ERA funds — are among the most effective strategies for accomplishing that goal.
The White House, in collaboration with the American Bar Association (ABA), Legal Services Corporation (LSC), and National Conference of Bar Presidents (NCBP), is convening local government, judicial, legal and community leaders from 50 cities to develop community-specific solutions to provide vulnerable families access to counsel, divert evictions, and connect renters and landlords to available resources.
Drawing on local leaders from across the court system, legal services and legal advocacy communities, philanthropy, non-profit services, and local government, the White House will support and facilitate coordination among these stakeholders in developing locally-tailored solutions that incentivize the use of emergency rental assistance and keep tenants stably housed. This will also provide a model for the coordination required in communities across the country to fully address the eviction crisis.
- Ensure that the 30-day Eviction Notice Requirement for Federally-Backed Properties is Enforced. No landlord (public or private) whose underlying financing is backed by the federal government (e.g., HUD/FHA or USDA), purchased or securitized by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, or that is receiving assistance from the federal government may require a tenant to vacate their unit for non-payment of rent until 30 days after the landlord has provided the tenant with a notice to vacate.
- Make Clear the Fair Housing Act Must Be Followed. The administration states that evictions disproportionately affect communities of color, people with disabilities, women, and other members of protected classes. Tenants with disabilities who are facing eviction are entitled to reasonable accommodations in the eviction process. In some cases, in bringing eviction actions, housing providers may also engage in practices that violate the federal Fair Housing Act. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is providing guidance to help prevent Fair Housing Act violations and collaborating with DOJ to publicize this guidance. Landlords and renters can visit hud.gov/fairhousing for details on guidance.
- Accelerate and Broaden State and Local Delivery of Emergency Rental Assistance by Providing Clarity on Bulk Payments, Aiding Americans Experiencing Homelessness, and Overcoming Language and Disability Barriers.
Treasury Releases New Guidance
Separately, the Treasury Department today release guidance today in the form of upgraded frequently asked questions (FAQs) to speed the disbursement of emergency rental assistance by states, territories, localities and tribal governments. Treasury’s guidance:
- Strongly encourages partnerships with courts to actively prevent evictions and develop eviction diversion programs.
- Makes clear that states and localities, in partnership with their court systems, can tap the $350 billion Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds and billions of additional dollars available for housing stability services through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program. for funding their eviction diversion efforts.
- Helps families experiencing homelessness gain access to assistance. For vulnerable families without a current rental obligation — necessary for emergency rental assistance eligibility — Treasury is creating a commitment letter process to help those families gain access to assistance.
- Drives towards equal access by removing language and cultural barriers in securing emergency rental assistance.
- Provides a streamlined payment option for utility providers and large landlords to make accessing emergency rental assistance on behalf of multiple tenants easier and more attractive.
- Pushes grantee coordination to reduce the confusion, burdens, and delays in providing assistance created by differences in locally-imposed requirements among programs operating in the same regions. Grantees providing services to overlapping or neighboring areas should collaborate to develop consistent or complementary policies to avoid unnecessary confusion or burdens for families or landlords seeking aid.
View the Treasury FAQs.
This post provides general information and does not constitute any legal advice. NAHB encourages all members to consult their local landlord-tenant attorney prior to filing an eviction.