The CDC announced on Monday that it would extend the eviction ban until June 30. The tenant eviction moratorium was supposed to end today and landlords were, in theory, allowed to start court proceedings in order to recover back-rent from tenants with missed payments. With the recent COVID Relief Act passed as the Biden Administration’s first order of business, it was only a matter of time before the moratorium was extended.
Many landlords in California are still waiting on rent relief from the original recovery package set forth by the Trump Administration, while the nation’s most populous state falls behind in its timeline of implementation.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a historic threat to the nation’s public health,” CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a statement. “Keeping people in their homes and out of crowded or congregate settings — like homeless shelters — by preventing evictions is a key step in helping to stop the spread of COVID-19.”
Perhaps the biggest ‘chink in the armor’ that is the California Tenant Relief Act is the fact that not every landlord or tenant can qualify for the relief; It is only for landlords whose tenants make below Average Median Incomes. But refusing to pay rents simply because you won’t get evicted is a game that people of all incomes are playing.
11% of landlords, particularly in single-family, have reported already selling some of their properties because they can’t get the money they need. Only 60% of qualifying single-family landlords have filed the necessary paperwork along with their tenants so there are still thousands of landlords out there without any assistance.
The problem lies in that landlords can’t request monetary aid without the tenant, nor can the tenant request on behalf of the landlord. Either tenant-landlord relationships are sour and neither side wants to concede to the other, or varying jurisdictional laws offer little recourse for each of them.
“So if you happen to be in a jurisdiction that allows you as the property owner to work on behalf of your resident, to be an advocate, to get those funds into their hands as quickly as possible, then you’re going to be much more successful,” said Robert Pinnegar, president and CEO of the National Apartment Association. “If you’re in jurisdictions that have taken an approach that is not so customer service friendly, then it’s going to take longer.”CNBC
The way things are going now it is likely that some of the landlords desperately selling will be targeting owner occupants completely absolving the property from the rental stock, according to CNBC. This is not necessarily a good phenomenon for housing in general because the pandemic-fueled threat on housing has already decreased the nation’s rental stock by more than a quarter-million units. This is a threat to affordable housing efforts since rental properties are almost-always cheaper than ownership.
“The thing that keeps me up at night is we had a housing affordability crisis going into Covid-19,” said Pinnegar. “If we lose that critical naturally occurring, affordable housing that is out there across this country, we’re going to have a catastrophe on the other side of this.”
Smaller landlords make up more than half of the rental stock in the nation which means getting them the help they need would also be an attempt at preventing a larger affordable-housing crisis.