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Posted by: thepinetree on 09/20/2021 04:35 PM Updated by: thepinetree on 09/20/2021 04:37 PM
Expires: 01/01/2026 12:00 AM

The CDC’s Eviction Moratorium has Ended - What Exactly Does this Mean for Renters and Landlords?

Arlington, VA...When the Supreme Court ended the nationwide eviction moratorium, media outlets were filled with dire predictions. Millions of American families and their belongings would be tossed unceremoniously into the streets, they said. The newly homeless would overrun shelters and create new hotspots of COVID-19.  Alarmists seemed to imagine heartless landlords were constrained only by the CDC’s 11-month emergency measure, and as soon as the provision ended, they’d evict en masse and plunge renters into fresh financial and personal chaos.

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 31: Housing activists gather to protest alleged tenant harassment by a landlord and call for cancellation of rent in the Crown Heights neighborhood on July 31, 2020 in Brooklyn, New York. Since the onset of the coronavirus crisis, millions of Americans have fallen behind on rent payments, leading many to speculate that an eviction crisis and drastic rise in homelessness is inevitable unless drastic action is taken by state and federal lawmakers. (Photo by Scott Heins/Getty Images)

But does this prediction reflect real-world conditions between renters and landlords? Overwhelmingly, the data show it does not.

To understand the impact of a ban on evictions, we must understand who owns properties that renters rent. About 10 million Americans own at least one property they rent out to someone else. Most own one or two properties, often single-family units or duplexes. Some are purchased as investments, but most were, or will be, the owners’ primary residence. Individuals renting properties to other individuals represent about half of all residential units nationwide.

Even in pre-pandemic 2018, only about half of individual landlords actually profited from renting a property, with just as many taking a net loss (sometimes used to offset taxable income).

Offering a property for rent is only marginally more profitable than, say, investing an equivalent sum in the stock market. Being a landlord requires not just financial investment but a significant amount of work. A landlord must either split the potential profit with a property management company, or else be the on-call superintendent himself, responding to a leaking toilet or a blown fuse with his own time and resources. Each tenant makes an average of six such calls per year.

When the CDC’s overreach effectively made paying rent optional, these “mom and pop” landlords faced the prospect of hosting strangers in their private property for free: doing a job with no guarantee they’d ever get paid. Small landlords are more likely to rely on rental income to pay the property’s bills, keeping the lights on for tenants, and are also likely to house lower-income renters who might easily fall behind.

The moratorium removed key parts of the landlord-tenant contract: the property owner was effectively being forced to house (at significant expense) people who may or may not pay rent. With late fees banned and evictions suspended, rent became an optional expense, at least for a while.

Even if landlords could find a prospective tenant who would pay, they couldn’t move in someone new because nonpayers were protected from being asked to leave.

Eviction bans were not limited to renters whose income was impacted by COVID-19 closures, nor did residents generally have to prove any special hardship. Landlords couldn’t insist on rent being paid on time, but mortgage payments to lenders, repairs, and maintenance costs continued as usual. Some face tax liens, foreclosure, or bankruptcy.

The marginal return on individual investment properties is not high, and the frustrations, even with generally cooperative tenants, can be daunting. Property taxes (consuming about 14 cents of every dollar paid in rent) continue to rise. Absent rental income, some owners can’t afford to improve or even preserve units, which fall into disrepair.

A small shift in the likelihood that rent will be paid on time—like the shift engineered by eviction moratoria—can push landlords into the red. Higher risks and lower returns mean fewer people offering units for rent, pushing prices for remaining rentals still higher.

In the first waves of the pandemic, some landlords voluntarily waived rent. Many others found ways to work with tenants, accepted partial or late payments, and helped renters apply for relief funds.

Federal and state governments directed billions of dollars to rental assistance programs, and it’s unclear how much of that money has made it through to small landlords.

Property owners already comply with a complex web of regulations and legal processes regarding renters. They may not arbitrarily raise rent, end a lease early, or discriminate against protected classes of tenants. Evicting tenants for nonpayment or other violations of the lease requires a lawsuit and sometimes-lengthy court procedure, where a housing court judge rules whether the tenant may be removed, or not.

Eviction is a costly business for landlords, who must weigh rental arrears (nonpayment of rent is the most common reason for initiating eviction proceedings, in any year) against court costs, vacancy, and relisting and reletting costs. At the height of the pandemic, that process was further complicated by the need to disinfect the unit, show the unit to prospective tenants, and complete the necessary legal paperwork, all while abiding by emergency health measures and social distancing.

Quite aside from the personal sympathies of landlords (who, like the rest of us, showed solidarity and generosity throughout our global crisis), eviction in a pandemic is a tricky business.

When landlords have to evict tenants, they themselves face a greater risk of foreclosure. Landlords have a high incentive to work with tenants to avoid evictions, and always have.

The CDC moratorium invoked a WWII-era legal authority to limit the spread of disease and was limited to the actual removal of non-paying tenants from units. If landlords were chomping at the bit to chuck out tenants, we would expect to see pre-eviction procedures rising, even as actual evictions were temporarily halted. Those initial filings (not restricted) were just 50 percent of the expected average. When local moratoria and renter protections were allowed to lapse, there was no immediate surge in eviction filings.

According to estimates by PolicyLink, 14 percent of all renters in the U.S. owe back rent as of August 2021, nearly twice the rate of pre-pandemic years, but already down by half from December of 2020. Those debts aren’t cancelled by the moratorium: in most cases, tenants will have to pay the arrears, eventually. It is difficult to know how much of the ongoing shortfall is pandemic hardship, and how much is a conscious response to suspending consequences for nonpayment of rent.

The end of the federal moratorium leaves many state and local bans in place. But even without these, the relationship between tenant and landlord is largely cooperative and mutually beneficial. Each has much to gain, and just as much to lose. The less federal fiddling in the terms of private contracts, the better for both.

The Supreme Court rightly recognized that the CDC does not have the ability to alter millions of private contracts. If landlords were to be prevented from removing tenants from their property for nonpayment of rent, the Court ruled, Congress must authorize such a measure. Congress failed to find the votes to do so.

The end of a national moratorium on evictions is unlikely to trigger a travesty for renters. Landlords remain very willing to work with tenants to avoid eviction proceedings, which damage both parties. Instead, the restoration of property rights is a promising sign for increasing affordable housing in the future. With some legal recourse restored, property owners will be less hesitant to put units up for rent, and more likely to take a chance on lower-income renters.

By BRITTANY HUNTER Pacific Legal Foundation

Comments - Make a comment
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No Subject
Posted on: 2021-09-20 16:47:29   By: Anonymous
It means get off your lazy ass and get a job. There are thousands of jobs out there so start looking for one!

[Reply ]

The divide is wide thanks to the politicians
Posted on: 2021-09-20 17:10:05   By: Anonymous
All these things did was create a wider divide in the USA. If we want nice things, as in beautiful up kept cities, towns and safe streets EVERYONE needs to work and pay a fair tax.

Smarten up people. Stop falling for politicians that do not address what they are going to do to fix problems and improve things. Politicians who now just run campaigns by inducing irrational fear and hate in the weak sheep for a vote. Carelessly giving away the tax dollars free, tax dollars paid by the few hard workers we have remaining to fix things, to those who do not work, but just destroy and trash all we have built. Look around, California is a rundown crime ridden trash dump.

[Reply ]

    Re: The divide is wide thanks to the politicians
    Posted on: 2021-09-20 17:28:51   By: Anonymous
    Notta gonna happen with your elected office! If you voted for this office, live with it!!! Come January, when the “depression” starts, give yourself a pat on the back. Mission accomplished like big time! Think this is funny, the joke is on you brain dead democrats. Ha-ha!!

    [Reply ]

      Re: The divide is wide thanks to the politicians
      Posted on: 2021-09-20 17:34:31   By: Anonymous
      Has anyone bought fuel lately?? Been to the grocery store lately??? Paid a water bill lately??? This all falls on our Democratic Party. Have children, good luck to them and their future! Morons and dead brains are responsible. Hopeless and helpless is understated…..

      [Reply ]

        Re: The divide is wide thanks to the politicians
        Posted on: 2021-09-20 18:15:07   By: Anonymous
        A*s , gas or grass nobody rides for free.

        [Reply ]

          Re: The divide is wide thanks to the politicians
          Posted on: 2021-09-20 18:27:30   By: Anonymous
          A*s. It’s people like you that are hopeless and helpless!! Grow more “grass” and stay underground just like your best friends. Once in prison, you losers will realize what a waste in society you really are! Better change before next election!!

          [Reply ]

        Re: The divide is wide thanks to the politicians
        Posted on: 2021-09-20 19:57:06   By: Anonymous
        Yes. You're right. Presidnet Biden sets residential water prices here in Calaveras..

        What kind of idiots make comments like this? SURELY you're smarter than that.

        [Reply ]

    Re: The divide is wide thanks to the politicians
    Posted on: 2021-09-20 19:59:55   By: Anonymous
    Yup. I'm still waiting for Trump to release his health care plan.

    [Reply ]

    Re: The divide is wide thanks to the politicians
    Posted on: 2021-09-20 22:03:42   By: Anonymous
    The politicians don’t even care that much about votes, it’s all that sweet corporate $$$$

    [Reply ]

Inherited Property
Posted on: 2021-09-20 18:56:40   By: Anonymous
When my parents passed several years ago, I inherited their small house in Los Angles. I had a renter that took total advantage of the pandemic and dragged me through the seven circles of Hell. For the past two years, that house has been nothing but a bottomless money pit. Some renters are taking total advantage of the situation.

[Reply ]

    Re: Inherited Property
    Posted on: 2021-09-20 19:13:10   By: Anonymous
    Renters taking advantage, why not be a typical democrat?? Has anyone read the news lately???? 15,000, I repeat 15,000 immigrants at the Texas border! Asking for military assistance to control the “invasion.” Who in their right mind would have voted for this vindictive president?? Come January you nuts should be ashamed of yourselves. We are closing in on a third world nation. Normal people could care less at this point. The joke is on the democrats, big time.

    [Reply ]

      Re: Inherited Property
      Posted on: 2021-09-20 20:00:59   By: Anonymous
      I recall 24,000 at the Southern Border under Trump. Is this an upgrade?

      [Reply ]

    Re: Inherited Property
    Posted on: 2021-09-20 22:05:24   By: Anonymous
    There’s several government sources to get your lost $, you’ll be fine

    [Reply ]

No Subject
Posted on: 2021-09-20 19:06:05   By: Anonymous
Case in point: I was in Wally World last Thursday, and I amuse myself by counting all the working age dead beats (men) that are in WM in the middle of the day, obviously don’t work, most don’t plan on working, tattoos, i-phones, many wearing caps or shirts referring to MJ, and I’m supposed to feel sorry for these leaches? Same one’s I sat by in high school couldn’t wait to smoke their next number, ditched school often, and now they are paying for their stupidity. I lost count at 40 some. So when these dead heads have to face reality, they are screwed! No job, no savings, but they look cool, but don’t have a bucket to pee in!

[Reply ]

    Posted on: 2021-09-20 19:59:04   By: Anonymous
    But YOU were there.....

    Maybe they all have your story? Or is it only you whose perfect...and also wondering why there are so many cars on the road when you should be the only one who has any place to go?

    I'm a CHP officer. I work nights. I'm in my 40s. I shop at WalMart. Me Too?

    [Reply ]

    Posted on: 2021-09-20 22:36:16   By: Anonymous

    [Reply ]

No Subject
Posted on: 2021-09-20 22:02:41   By: Anonymous
Poverty is a policy choice.

[Reply ]

No Subject
Posted on: 2021-09-20 22:06:35   By: Anonymous
If your a CHP officer, why aren’t you doing your job and ticketing all vehicle operators that have blacked out windows in their vehicles? It’s against the law, you know it, I know it, but you are too busy hanging out at Starbuck’s with your shift buddies! We used to have CHP Officers in the Motherlode that actually you did their job, it is obvious you don’t know how to do your’s! By the way, you, Mr. Smartass know exactly who I mean when someone is referring to deadbeat men, whether they shop at WM or anyother store! Nice try!

[Reply ]

    Posted on: 2021-09-22 02:27:27   By: Anonymous
    Many of those vehicles with blacked out windows have cops on duty in them. If you took all blacked out vehicles off the road then the only ones left would be law enforcement vehicles. That would blow their cover.

    [Reply ]

No Subject
Posted on: 2021-09-21 08:52:49   By: Anonymous
I’m an FBI agent, crooked as a dog’s hind leg!

[Reply ]

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