CDC’s eviction ban expiring: What’s different this time around?

The answer: There may not be another extension

Time is nearly up for another ban on evictions across the nation, but this time, there may not be another extension.

Last year, the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a national moratorium on evictions. The ban — which was aimed at quarantining renters in their homes to stop the spread of the coronavirus — took effect in September 2020. It’s been extended several times, most recently earlier this month, until Oct. 3.

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The most recent CDC extension was issued in response to COVID-19′s delta variant, which has been surging among the unvaccinated for months.

“I was surprised it was extended the last time,” said Viraj Parmar of the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation. “I think this last time around was truly the last extension.”

On Friday, a federal appeals court rejected Alabama and Georgia landlord efforts to block the eviction ban and said it could remain in place for now. That is setting up a battle before the U.S. Supreme Court, which voted in June to allow the ban to remain through July.

About 3.5 million people in the United States say they are facing eviction, according to the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey.

“We won’t see a mass exodus on Oct. 4,” said Dr. Tom Smith of Emory’s Goizueta Business School. “But there will clearly be some cases where people will say they’re not aware of the ban’s expiration.”

“We did some research on this,” said Dr. Daniel Pascuiti, a Georgia State University sociology professor, citing a recent study. “We asked courts, do you provide information on the CDC’s eviction when evictions come before your court? Sixty-one percent said they didn’t, meaning tenants have to figure out where to go and what to do.”

“A lot of people are going to need a lot of help,” said Rachel Lazarus, managing attorney for Gwinnett Legal Aid. “The last extension had an unintended consequence — tenants couldn’t relocate elsewhere because similar properties were under the same eviction ban. That’s created an even more severe affordable housing shortage than existed before.

“Now there are too many people competing for the same spots, and there’s no good solution for that.”