The federal eviction moratorium has already been extended four times, and the latest deadline of July 31 is virtually upon us. Rental lessees on the cusp of potential eviction won't be getting a good night's sleep tonight unless Congress rallies to extend the CDC-imposed regulation further.
Will Congress make the move and keep renters protected as the COVID-19 Delta variant surges in hotspots across the U.S.?
The Supreme Court ruling only extends the federal eviction moratorium through July.
In a 5-4 ruling in June, the Supreme Court decided that the CDC would be allowed to keep its nationwide eviction moratorium in place through July 31.
Despite disagreement from landlords, the extension fell into place to protect individuals and families who can't afford rent due to issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The eviction moratorium never impacted back rent. Anyone who doesn't want to get evicted when the moratorium is up will owe the full extent of what they haven't paid—something that many families won't be able to do. As a result, there will be dire consequences for some people when the moratorium ends. As the Delta variant surges, an influx in shelters could be problematic for the next wave of the pandemic.
A sharp drop in poverty levels could impact Congress' decision (or lack thereof).
A report from Urban Institute tells us that 2021 poverty levels are expected to be 45 percent lower than last year—a metric that amounts to 20 million fewer impoverished Americans.
This sets a record for yearly poverty decline, and it's almost three times as strong as the previous record drop. The information could potentially influence Congress to avoid extending the eviction moratorium. On the flip side, it could also prove to Congress that governmental interference helps.
Can Biden influence Congress in time?
As Americans brace for the moratorium's expiration, President Biden sent a message to Congress loud and clear. He called to extend the moratorium before it officially ends on July 31. Congress would need to move quickly. It isn't clear whether they intend to follow through with Biden's proposal.
Despite the fact that the Supreme Court made the previous decision about the CDC's regulation, Congress would be required to extend it any further, so the decision isn't as simple as prior extensions.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki spoke on behalf of Biden on July 29 and said, "In light of the Supreme Court's ruling, the President calls on Congress to extend the eviction moratorium to protect such vulnerable renters and their families without delay."
Renters in some states will be protected even if the national ban expires.
Due to the presence of some state-level eviction moratoriums, not all struggling Americans are at immediate risk of eviction.
For example, evictions can't start in Washington, D.C. until Aug. 26. Even then, landlords will still need to prove that they filed an eviction against the tenant before pandemic protections began. Otherwise, landlords will need to wait until Oct. 12.
The Hawaii ban ends on Aug. 6, the Maryland ban ends on Aug. 15, and the Illinois ban ends on Aug. 30. New York and New Jersey have additional protections.