Moratorium Extended: Supreme Court Votes
Moratorium Extended: Supreme Court Votes
The Supreme Court is leaving a pandemic-inspired nationwide ban on evictions in place, despite pleas from landlords to end the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention moratorium on evictions.
The moratorium was designed to prevent renters for being evicted and out of overcrowded situations such as homeless shelters during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
Last week, the Biden administration extended the moratorium by a month, until the end of July with no other extensions in the foreseeable future. This would have been somewhat of a glimmer of hope for landlords. U.S. Judge Dabney Friedrich struck down the moratorium as exceeding the CDC’s authority, but put the ruling on hold. The high court voted 5-4 to keep the ban in place until the end of July yesterday.
One surprise vote of keeping the moratorium extended for now? One Justice Brett Kavanaugh, stating the extended moratorium will “allow for additional and more orderly distribution of the congressionally appropriated rental assistance funds.” Kavanaugh also added that the government will need “specific congressional authorization” if extended beyond July 31. In other words, let’s not rule on it, let’s just let it expire.
While the moratorium on evictions was put into place in the interest of individuals remaining socially distant from others in their own homes, the days of pandemic are behind us. Unless, of course, you want to talk the Delta Variant. I mean, there can be different COVID variants all the way up the NATO Phonetic alphabet to Zulu, for crying out loud. This could drag on for years. So much for mom-and-pop landlords getting any rent money in the foreseeable future.
The CDC eviction moratorium, while helping some individuals in need, has provided enough loopholes for individuals to circumvent the system. Based on data reported by the National Multifamily Housing Council, rental delinquencies increased from 4.1% in December 2019 to 6.2% in December 2020. All renters have to do to qualify for the exemption is attest to the following:
1. They expect to earn less than $99,000 ($198,000 married) in 2021;
2. They have used their best efforts to obtain governmental renters’ assistance;
3. They can’t pay the rent because of a substantial loss of income or out-of-pocket medical expenses;
4. They are using their best efforts to make partial payments; and
5. If evicted they would likely become homeless.-Rick Kahler, advisor perspectives.com
The wording is ambiguous to say the very least. What do “best efforts” look like, anyway? No proof of these “best efforts” has, to this date, been required of renters. And, I may be unfairly using the word renters here because to say “renters” actually may imply that the tenant pays monthly rent. Let’s just replace the word “renters” with “squatters”.
Large, wealthy real estate firms and development conglomerates don’t control the entire market: In fact, just over half of the U.S. rental supply, about 25.8 million units, are owned by business entities, according to the 2015 American Housing Survey. The other 22.7 million rental units are owned by individuals, who are more likely to own single units, homes and duplexes, and are often called “mom-and-pop” landlords.”-Abby Vesoulis, Time
These mom-and-pops bought houses as investment properties for their retirement. These are not the white, wealthy landlords the #Cancelrent crew want us to think they are. Most of these people are reasonable people. Most of these landlords would be willing to work with those in a tough spot. These landlords? They are Hispanic Americans, Black Americans, Vietnamese Americans, Chinese Americans who are getting the royal shaft when squatters, posing to be upstanding citizens, take over and take advantage of this moratorium. Take a look:
That’s just the “cost of being a landlord”, says Cea Weaver. Is this chick for real? Basically, this is the fault of the landlord? Cea Weaver is an organizer, and, surprise, surprise, a Democratic Socialist who believes housing is a God-given, human right. Wow, a Socialist who believes in God? Whatever would their beloved Karl Marx have to say about this? So funny how they do not believe in God but conveniently do when it comes to bolstering their agendas.
Small landlords don’t have the cash and credit to carry a loss in income. For many it’s not a full-time job, they just have one or two rental properties that might serve them in their retirement. And these things are threatened when the rent isn’t coming in over the course of a year. Their margins are small already, it’s not like they are stuffing money in their pockets.”-Kyle Swenson, The Washington Post
Then, there’s this in my great state of Washington:
Beginning August 1, renters are expected to pay full rent, reduced rent negotiated with landlord, or actively seek rental assistance funding. Landlords may only evict a tenant if none of those actions are being taken but must offer the tenant a reasonable re-payment plan before beginning the eviction process. Tenants must also be provided, in writing, the services and support available.”-governor.wa.gov
More muddled wording. What, exactly, is a reasonable repayment plan? And on whose terms is the repayment plan reasonable? The truth is that some of these individuals (not all) have no intentions of ever paying their landlords even after the moratorium runs out. Squatters will be protected and small property landlords will continue to hemorrhage any income and lifetime savings they may have. “Organizers” will continue to push for a reconstruction of the real estate market as we know it. The Supreme Court had the chance to shut this down this but they played right into their hands.
Photo Credit: turkeychik/FlickR/CC BY 2.0/Cropped