The Biden administration on Wednesday extended a federal pause on evictions by one month through the end of July as millions of Americans struggle to pay their rent.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky signed an order delaying the end of the eviction moratorium – which was poised to expire on June 30 – until July 31, 2021. It is intended to be the final extension of the moratorium, according to a news release.
The CDC first instituted the eviction freeze last September in order to stave off what experts warned could become the most severe housing crisis in decades.
Congressional Democrats, local officials and other advocacy groups have been warning that when the pause lapsed at the end of the month, there could be a wave of evictions. That's in part because although Congress set aside $45 billion for rental assistance, the funds have been slow to reach many people who need them.
There are some 110 million Americans living in rental households; an estimated 11 million renters – or about 15% – are behind on their rent and at risk of eviction, according to an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
In order to be protected from eviction, renters need to submit a declaration form certifying that they meet certain requirements, such as earning less than $99,000 in 2020 or 2021. Individuals must also attest that they are unable to pay their rent due to a coronavirus-related job loss or income reduction and that if they are evicted, will likely become homeless or moved into congregated housing.
The Legal Innovation and Technology lab at Suffolk University Law School created an interactive tool to help tenants determine whether they're eligible for the protection. It can also generate a declaration to give to landlords.
Low-income advocacy groups celebrated the news.
"President Biden will extend federal eviction moratorium for 30 days & activate whole of government approach on eviction prevention/diversion, as we urged," said Diane Yentel, the president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. "Now we must redouble efforts to get ERA to tenants who need it to stay stably housed."