The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday issued an unprecedented order barring landlords from evicting tenants who can't afford rent because they lost income due to the coronavirus pandemic. The ban applies to tenants who expect to make less than $99,000 ($198,000 for joint-filing couples) this year. Renters are still required to pay what they owe, but cannot be kicked out of their place through the end of 2020, the Hill reports. Evictions for reasons other than nonpayment of rent, however, will be allowed to proceed, Politico reports. The CDC director has authority to implement measures to prevent the spread of communicable disease, though it's not clear whether the federal law granting that power applies to financial aid or whether it would override a rental contract. One landlord advocacy group warned the order could end up causing a financial crisis for landlords.
"President Trump is committed to helping hardworking Americans stay in their homes and combating the spread of the coronavirus. Today's announcement from his administration means that people are struggling to pay rent and risk further spreading of exposure to the disease, due to economic hardship," a White House rep says. The CDC's order is an attempt to continue protecting renters facing eviction after a federal moratorium on foreclosures and evictions ended July 31 (along with, that same week, the extra $600 per week in unemployment benefits), and some housing advocates are saying the administration should have acted sooner—and done more, like offer billions in emergency rental assistance. One calls the CDC's order "a half-measure that extends a financial cliff for renters to fall off of when the moratorium expires and back rent is owed." Another says the order simply "kicks the crisis down the road to January." (Read more coronavirus stories.)