As more and more people across the nation get vaccinated, it seems that COVID related news becomes talk of the past. However, the effects of COVID remain on going and recovery towards normalcy will not happen overnight. The effects COVID has had on the real estate market remain a potential cause of concern. In March 2020, Congress issued the first eviction moratorium as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES). Since then, the CDC has stepped in after the initial expiration of the ACT and issued its own Moratorium, which has gone through two extensions.
The current extension is to July 31st, 2021. In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed an executive order to extend New York’s eviction moratorium to August 31st, 2021. In New York, all five stages of the eviction process are suspended, unlike other states. Meaning tenants who are unable to pay rent are protected from the following:
1) Eviction notice
2) Eviction court filings
3) Eviction hearings
4) Eviction orders, judgments, and writs of execution
5) Eviction removal orders
Efforts to halt further extension of the eviction moratorium have been discussed by the Real Estate coalition. In a joint letter to President Biden, the coalition has said that the broad financial assistance provided through relief bills has heled avoid financial catastrophe and provided a path towards recovery. However, continuation of a nationwide one-size-fits-all Federal eviction policy will ultimately only serve to place overwhelming levels of debt on renter households and impede the recovery in the housing sector post COVID. The coalition states that they remain committed to delivering housing assistance to renters while concluding the nationwide eviction moratorium.
There are positives and benefits to ending the eviction moratorium. In doing so, light at the end of the tunnel is seen, showcasing that COVID is becoming a thing of the past. However, recovery is not a one-size-fits all solution. Everyone has suffered in their own way due to COVID. While others are getting back on their feet and returning to normalcy and can afford to start repaying their debts and can pay their rent to avoid eviction procedures, others are not as lucky. Although the eviction moratorium does not allow debt forgiveness, it does protect tenants from eviction notice. There is no solution in place to ensure debt forgiveness is available for those in need.
What should be focused on is how to get people back into the work force and promote affordable housing.
Written By: Renee Saddler, Legal Assistant