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What CDC’s eviction moratorium means for renters — and landlords

The Trump administration has announced a temporary national moratorium on evictions for tens of millions of renters who have lost work. The action comes via the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which says evictions pose a health hazard during the pandemic. We hear from people dealing with this issue, and Judy Woodruff talks to Diane Yentel of the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In an unprecedented move, the Trump administration announced a temporary national moratorium on evictions for tens of millions of renters who have lost work.

    The action comes through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which says that evictions pose a health hazard during the pandemic. While this would stop many evictions until the end of the year, the rent is still due eventually.

    Let's hear now from some people dealing with this, residents on the verge of eviction or where it's already happening, and a landlord.

  • Victoria Lambert:

    My name is Victoria Lambert. And I — money that I receive from Social Security is $1,000, and my rent was $750, but they're now raising it to $765.

    I read about the moratorium being extended. That might give some people an opportunity between now and December to amass some money to carry through or to even get right, to get current. But when you live on the edge, you are still always on the edge.

  • Kyle Pongratz:

    My name is Kyle Pongratz.

  • Britney Pongratz:

    And my name is Britney Pongratz.

  • Kyle Pongratz:

    And we got papers in the mail, and a sheriff's deputy dropped them off to us, for an eviction court hearing date. And we didn't know what to do. Like, we just — our heart stopped. Come October 1, everything has to be out by then.

    It's probably not going to help us, because we have already made an agreement through the courts. I got $275 to my name, until God knows when unemployment comes through. And we have got six kids between us, and that's going to go really, really fast.

  • Britney Pongratz:

    You really — you're at the end of the string here, man. Like, what do you do?

  • Doug Quattrochi:

    My name is Doug Quattrochi, and I'm a small landlord. I have three rental units in Worcester. I live in one of them.

    The eviction moratorium the CDC enacted makes sense from a health point of view, but it dodges the fundamental question, which is, how are we are ultimately going to pay for this?

    Just putting temporary Band-Aids on isn't going to work, when we knew at the start of this we were going to need stitches.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Thanks to all of you for sharing your stories.

    And now, for a look at what prompted the CDC's action and who it will help and will not help, we turn to Diane Yentel. She is president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. It's a nonprofit advocacy group.

    Diane Yentel, thank you very much for joining us.

    So, how much of a difference will this new moratorium make, do you think?

  • Diane Yentel:

    Well, thanks for having me. And it could make a tremendous difference.

    It is an extraordinary and unprecedented action that the CDC has taken here. And if it is upheld by the courts, it will save lives. And it could prevent tens of millions of people from losing their homes in the middle of a pandemic.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    We were — I saw a number. Something like 20 to 30 million people are potentially facing, on the brink of eviction.

    Are all of them going to be helped? We just heard from that one couple who said that they had already a court date set, they were going to be out in October.

    Does this save everybody who is dealing with there?

  • Diane Yentel:

    So, it doesn't quite protect everybody.

    And you are right that we were predicting that as many as 30 to 40 million people in about 17 million households are at risk of losing their homes by the end of the year if Congress or the administration didn't act.

    So this eviction moratorium that the CDC is putting into place will protect the vast majority of low-income renters who are at risk of eviction due to COVID-19. There are some eligibility requirements and actions that renters need to take in order to have this protection.

    So, in order to be protected, a renter needs to be — have a certain income, an individual with an income less than $90,000 a year or a household with income of less than $190,000 a year. That is about 96 percent of all renters would meet that income eligibility requirement.

    Then renters would also have to attest that they have lost income or they have extraordinary health care costs. They would have to attest that they have done everything they can to pay the rent and they will continue to do everything they can to pay the rent. And they would have to attest that, if they are evicted, they would face homelessness or have to double or triple up with family or friends.

    And if they meet all of those eligibility requirements, the renter needs to sign a declarative statement to say so, give it to their landlord, and then they are protected under this moratorium, which begins to take effect on Friday.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    So, there are steps that they need to take actively themselves. And it could be just in a matter of days that they have to get it done if they are facing eviction in the very near term.

  • Diane Yentel:


    I mean, so this — this order takes effect beginning on Friday. And this declarative statement that renters need to sign is the first step that renters should take. And they should take it as soon as possible. They should take it on Friday.

    Sign a declarative statement that they meet the eligibility requirements, give it to their landlord, and make sure that they receive this protection, if they are eligible for it.

    And even if renters live in a state that has some eviction moratoriums in place, this order acts as a floor. So, if there are places that have stronger eviction moratoriums for more renters, those are what take precedent.

    But if there are renters in areas where there is no eviction moratoriums or very weak eviction moratoriums, now this moratorium will protect them.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Now, we just heard, Diane Yentel, from the landlord who — he owns three units, he said, and he said this is just a temporary Band-Aid. He said the money is going to come do.

    What about landlords who are not wealthy, but who are counting on this rental income themselves? What happens to them?

  • Diane Yentel:

    Well, that's absolutely right.

    The eviction moratorium is essential, but it's a half-measure. It doesn't actually prevent evictions. It delays them. It buys us some time to keep people housed and get Congress and the White House to get back to work to negotiate on a final COVID-19 spending bill that offers a true solution to this eviction crisis.

    And that is emergency rental assistance. Rent is still going to be due at the end of this moratorium. And low-income renters are not going to be able to afford it when it is due, any more than they're able to afford it now. We don't want low-income renters to be saddled with more debt than they can possibly pay off.

    And, at the same time, small landlords rely on rental income in order to pay their bills and keep the lights on and continue to maintain and operate their properties. And small landlords who house low-income renters are the landlords who are struggling most right now.

    So, emergency rental assistance absolutely has to be paired with this eviction moratorium. And only Congress can provide those resources.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    And so far, that has not happened. We are still waiting to see what, if anything, Congress will do on this front.

    Well, it certainly answered some questions, but raised a number of others.

    Diane Yentel, president the National Low Income Housing Coalition, thank you so much.

  • Diane Yentel:

    Thank you for having me.

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