Sept. 1 (UPI) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday banned evictions until the end of December to ease the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The moratorium covers renters who have faced a “substantial” loss of income amid the pandemic, expect to make no greater than $99,000 in annual income, or received a stimulus check under the CARES Act and are making “best efforts” to pay as much of their rent as possible.
“Under the CDC Order, American renters who meet certain conditions cannot be evicted if they have affirmatively exhausted their best efforts to pay rent, seek government rental assistance and are likely to become homeless due to eviction,” the White House said in a statement.
The White House added that tenants benefitting from the assistance are still obligated to pay the accrued rent or housing payments according to their lease or contract.
Landlords are also still permitted to pursue eviction against tenants for committing criminal acts, threatening the health or safety of other residents, damaging property, or other offenses.
Landlords who violate the order could face a fine of up to $250,000 or possible jail time.
The order lasts through Dec. 31 and does not apply to states with equivalent or more extensive restrictions on evictions.
The CDC’s action follows an executive order by President Donald Trump on Aug. 8 directing the agency to investigate the issue of evictions amid the pandemic.
A moratorium on evictions provided by the CARES Act expired in July, prompting the Urban Institute to estimate that 12.3 million U.S. households, or 30% of renters nationwide, would face possible eviction without protections.
Trump pledged to provide eviction protection through an executive order after Congress struggled to pass a new coronavirus stimulus package.
The American Civil Liberties Union tweeted Tuesday night that the measure “isn’t enough” to protect American renters.
“The only real way to stop the coming wave of mass evictions is for Trump to work with Congress to extend and expand the eviction moratorium for ALL and provide emergency rent relief,” the ACLU said.