Eviction ban ending Oct. 3. Here’s what it means for metro Atlanta

Caption
Millions Face Eviction, After Imminent End to US Moratorium.ABC reports the Biden administration will allow a nationwide ban on evictions to expire on Saturday, July 31.ABC reports the Biden administration will allow a nationwide ban on evictions to expire on Saturday, July 31.The administration claims its hands are tied after the Supreme Court declared it could only be extended until the end of July.The administration claims its hands are tied after the Supreme Court declared it could only be extended until the end of July.In a statement on July 29, the White House said President Joe Biden wanted to extend the federal eviction moratorium due to the rise of the delta variant.In a statement on July 29, the White House said President Joe Biden wanted to extend the federal eviction moratorium due to the rise of the delta variant.The president called on "Congress to extend the eviction moratorium to protect such vulnerable renters and their families without delay.".The president called on "Congress to extend the eviction moratorium to protect such vulnerable renters and their families without delay.".Last September, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put the moratorium in place as the pandemic continued to unfold. .Last September, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put the moratorium in place as the pandemic continued to unfold. .According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, by the end of March, 6.4 million American households had fallen behind on rent.According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, by the end of March, 6.4 million American households had fallen behind on rent.Now, the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey suggests that nearly 3.6 million people in the U.S. face eviction in the next two months.Now, the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey suggests that nearly 3.6 million people in the U.S. face eviction in the next two months.Now, the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey suggests that nearly 3.6 million people in the U.S. face eviction in the next two months

We’ve been down this road before, but this time, it looks as if the CDC’s moratorium on evictions is really going to expire Oct. 3.

I know it’s been in the news a lot, but what is the ban, and what’s it all about?

So last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a ruling preventing landlords from evicting tenants. A lot of people were beginning to lose their jobs and the CDC wanted to keep people who were unemployed or facing a lot of medical bills in their homes. They thought by keeping people isolated and quarantined at home, it would also help keep the coronavirus from spreading.

ExploreEvictions expected to spike as federal moratorium ends

The ban on evictions requires tenants to file paperwork with the CDC to prevent eviction for nonpayment. Renters have been able to apply for the eviction ban if they showed their income levels have dropped during the pandemic. The ban took effect last September and has been in place since.

I thought the ban had already expired. Or wasn’t it about to?

It first went into effect almost a year ago, but it’s been extended several times. It was going to end July 31, but it was extended until Oct. 3.

Why did the moratorium get extended last month?

Mostly because of the delta variant.

“The emergence of the delta variant has led to a rapid acceleration of community transmission in the U.S., putting more Americans at increased risk, especially if they are unvaccinated,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky when she signed the last extension.“It is imperative that public health authorities act quickly to mitigate such an increase of evictions, which could increase the likelihood of new spikes in [the delta variant’s] transmission. Such mass evictions and the attendant public health consequences would be very difficult to reverse.”

The CDC kept landlords from evicting people? I thought they were just all about public health, not business.

A lot of landlords have been upset about that. They think the CDC overstepped its authority, and that a lot of tenants would have paid their rent if the ban had never been issued, much less extended.

“The CDC overstepped its authority in issuing the sweeping federal eviction moratorium without regard for how the residents ‘protected’ by the moratorium would be provided for financially, and then dragged its feet on ending it, instead repeatedly pushing it back one month after another,” the Atlanta Apartment Association’s Kendall Bagley said. “The unfortunate result is renters facing insurmountable debt and rental housing providers struggling to provide safe, sustainable and affordable housing. Small mom-and-pop landlords have been among the hardest hit.”

The courts have sided with the CDC in the eviction ban, dismissing challenges against it.

Wasn’t Congress supposed to help landlords and tenants with rental assistance?

Yep, to the tune of $47 billion. But according to The Associated Press, only $3 billion of the first batch of $25 billion has even made it out.

ExploreWill new CDC moratorium keep tenants housed?

“Rental assistance has been trickling down when it should have been flooding,” said Viraj Parmar of the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation. “We’ve struggled so much with rental assistance, and now we’re almost in the same place as we were when the CDC put the moratorium in place.”

What are the chances of another extension?

“If I were a betting man — which I’m not — I’d anticipate at least some kind of recommendation from the CDC next month that at least recommends no evictions,” said Tom Smith of Emory’s Goizueta Business School. “Otherwise, you’re going to see more and more landlords actually moving toward real evictions.”

How many people are behind on their rent?

When the moratorium was about to expire in July, the Aspen Institute said more than 15 million people owed as much as $20 billion in back rent.

ExploreGeorgia renters relieved by CDC’s new moratorium on evictions

What about landlords? Is anyone feeling sorry for them?

The Atlanta Apartment Association says its members have lost more than $600 million across the state from lost rent. “When residents are unable to pay rent, owners are then at risk of falling short of their fiscal responsibilities, putting communities and their residents at further risk for housing insecurity while placing owners’ employees at risk for job insecurity,” Bagley said, admitting “there will certainly be a spike in evictions.”

But what if a tenant is able to pay some of their back payments?

“Many more cases will be filed than people evicted,” Bagley said. “Residents have many opportunities to pay the amount due; once notice of late payment is provided before an eviction is filed as well as at every point in the legal process beginning once the filing occurs.”

What happens if a tenant can’t pay anything by Oct. 3?

Then your landlord will have every legal right to evict you.

Dr. Daniel Pasciuti, a Georgia State University sociology professor who just wrote a report on evictions in the state, said different counties handle evictions in their own way.

“Georgia has 159 counties and more than 159 different ways of handling evictions,” Pasciuti said. “And most counties outside metro Atlanta have very limited legal aid options. So an eviction in Fulton isn’t handled the same way as in Cobb or Cherokee. The whole process has become heavily disjointed. There’s a lot of geographic inequality in metro Atlanta.”

Resources you can use to help you navigate the tenant eviction process

About the Author

ajc.com

Editors' Picks