Despite eviction and foreclosure moratoria, recently extended at federal levels—first from FHFA, FHA, and, later, the CDC—the country is in for a flood of eventual evictions, according to research collected by Bloomberg. The report also explored how, with a current shortage in housing, the eviction bans are costing landlords with tenants.
The loss of homes has been stalled, experts have said in response to the latest presidential action, but not stopped.
The Census Bureau recently reported that about a third of renters said in July that they had “no confidence” or “slight confidence” in their ability to pay for housing in August. With Republicans and Democrats in a stalemate over a next round of economic stimulus measures, experts warned that the country is poised for “an eviction crisis of historic proportions,” Bloomberg reported.
About 30 million Americans are “at risk” of being evicted in coming months because they can’t pay rent, according to a review of the Census survey data by the Aspen Institute Financial Security Program, the Covid-19 Eviction Defense Project, the National Low Income Housing Coalition and a coalition of researchers—estimates released before the moratoria extensions.
Bloomberg noted that looming eviction and the uncertainty that accompanies this latest action remains a problem.
“Eviction is a legal process, and the burden on landlords differs by state. But the mere threat of eviction often is enough for landlords to get someone to move out. Many landlords have been working with tenants in the hopes that more emergency rental assistance is on its way. Absent that help, the U.S. could be heading for a massive wave of housing displacement and insecurity. More people will double up with family or end up homeless.”
To access the most-recent protections announced by the White House, renters must assert they are incapable of paying their rent or are likely to become homeless if kicked out of their property, and they will be required to pay as much rent as they can afford, Bloomberg noted. Also, the initiative may still face legal challenges from landlords. Many tenants now owe so much in back rent that they won’t be able to catch up, pushing landlords to evict them as soon as restrictions lift.
A potential solution, Bloomberg reported, is for Congress to pass a plan that would provide $100 billion in rental assistance and ban evictions, “but that’s stuck in stalled negotiation with Republicans on a new stimulus package.”
Renters will not suffer alone. As Bloomberg reported, landlords need to collect rent to cover mortgage payments and property taxes. Many also pay for utilities. Keeping non-paying tenants around can incur operating costs without generating any revenue. With a shortage of housing inventory, landlords also understand they could be renting space to paying renters as opposed to those who can no longer pay.