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Up to 5 Million Evictions Could Start in January

Up to 5 Million Evictions Could Start in January
(Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Sunday, 13 December 2020 07:28 PM

Up to 5 million American households reportedly are at risk of eviction in January.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s ban on evictions is set to expire next month unless a last-minute deal is reached to extend it, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The CARES Act, signed into law last March, allows homeowners to pause mortgage payments for up to a year if they experience hardship as a result of the pandemic. Borrowers who signed up at the start of the program could face foreclosure by March, Bloomberg reported/

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s nationwide temporary suspension on evictions -- aimed at stemming the spread of coronavirus -- is slated to end Dec. 31. The timing is far from ideal given millions of people are also set to lose their unemployment benefits at year-end without an extension from Congress.

Between 2.4 million and 5 million American households are at risk of eviction in January alone, and millions more will be vulnerable in the months after, according to estimates from the investment bank and financial-advisory firm Stout Risius Ross.

John Pollock, staff attorney at the Public Justice Center, a legal advocacy nonprofit, said that if the moratorium isn’t renewed, January is expected to be the worst month for evictions in American history. “I don’t see how it’s possible that we’re not going to see more evictions on Jan. 1 than we’ve ever seen in a month,” he said.

America’s mom-and-pop landlords, along with their tenants, have been dangling by a thread for nine months. Now, with Congress still deadlocked over the contours of a second pandemic stimulus package, they are entering a new housing abyss, a perilous period of pandemic limbo as the last of the safety nets are set to expire, Reuters said.

The day after Christmas, the extended unemployment benefits that have kept 12 million people and their families afloat are scheduled to expire. Then, mere days after that cliff, on New Year’s Day, a national ban on renter evictions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is also set to lapse.

Overnight, an unprecedented bill of $70 billion in unpaid back rent and utilities will come due, according to estimates by Moody’s Analytics Chief Economist Mark Zandi. In all, up to 40 million people could be threatened with eviction over the coming months, research from the Aspen Institute says.

The massive unemployment sparked by health crisis has translated into 10 million fewer jobs than there were in March — and some 19 million people can’t afford their rent, the National Low Income Housing Coalition estimates, ABC News reported.

“The United States is facing the greatest eviction crisis we have ever seen in our country’s history,” Emily Benfer, a law professor at Wake Forest University School of Law, told the news outlet. “Renters are stretched threadbare. They are paying for rent with their food budgets. There’s been an increase in food pantry requests as much as 2,000% in some states.”

Roughly half of households not current on their rent or mortgage payments in Arkansas, Florida and Nevada think there’s a “strong chance” of eviction by early January. This equates to more than 750,000 homes where an eviction is the biggest worry, according to the survey.

By metro area, the threat of eviction is most pressing in New York City, Houston and Atlanta.

Forty-four states implemented eviction moratoriums since March, but 27 lifted them before September, resulting in an estimated 433,700 excess COVID-19 cases and 10,700 excess deaths, ABC News reported, citing a recent study.

While several states and cities have their own eviction bans with varying rules and expiration dates, the CDC order is the only one that covers the entire country.

Many housing-industry executives expect the CDC eviction ban to be extended. The ramifications would be catastrophic otherwise, and even many landlords believe they are more likely to recover some rent by working with tenants, rather than by evicting them.

But if evictions explode next month, economists say cities and towns could see a surge in people out on the street.

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Up to 5 million American households reportedly are at risk of eviction in January.
evictions, home, pandemic, covid
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2020-28-13
Sunday, 13 December 2020 07:28 PM
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