August 1, 2021

"Now it's the first of the month and rent — and back rent — is suddenly due for millions of Americans who have been shielded from eviction during the pandemic."

"Millions of households could face eviction over the next month — when lawmakers on are on their annual August recess — and some have predicted a full-blown eviction crisis, just as a surge in Covid cases from the highly contagious Delta variant may be prompting renewed calls for people to stay home and keep their distance. 'We only learned of this yesterday,' House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters Friday evening after the House tried and failed to pass legislation that would extend the federal eviction moratorium. 'There was not enough time to socialize it within our caucus as well as to build a consensus necessary,' she said, with a promise from her top lieutenant to revisit the issue ASAP. ... Pelosi was likely referring to the fact that the Biden administration only formally asked Congress to pass an extension on Thursday, two days before the program expired. Some White House officials made a late-stage push last week to reexamine the legal potential for President Joe Biden to extend the moratorium but were told by administration lawyers it wasn't possible, according to people familiar with the deliberations. You'd never know from the White House's late ask or Pelosi's lame excuse that the Supreme Court was very clear one month ago; either Congress could vote again to authorize the program or evictions could go forward."

From "The rent is now due, America" (CNN).

As the article goes on to explain, the Supreme Court allowed the moratorium to continue, but it was a 5-4 decision, and Justice Kavanaugh, the 5th vote, concurred to say that he was only accepting this exercise of executive power because it was set to end on July 31st and that Congress would need to act for it to continue. 

The idea that Congress was not on notice is utterly untenable. "We only learned of this yesterday" indeed!


Ann Althouse said...

Skeptical Voter writes:

"What did the proponents of the various eviction moratoriums think would happen? At some point, all things must end. Going rent free for months is a great idea—until at some point the free ride ends and the back rent is due. It’s sort of like jumping off a tall building—it’s great on the way down, but when you’re six inches from the ground there’s a very unpleasant surprise awaiting you. I see that AOC is blaming conservative Democrats for the coming end to the moratoria. And maybe Nancy Pelosi was surprised. But this was a program which, being charitable. I’ll say started with the best of intentions, but was guaranteed to end in tears. And it will end in tears not just for the renters who face accumulated bills many can’t pay, but also for landlords who will never collect much of that back rent.

"Like “two weeks to flatten the curve”—which turned into almost 17 months of intermittent lockdowns, a two or three month hold on evictions has turned into 15 months of rent “holiday”. Two or three months would have been sustainable—but 15 months of back rent is a hill too steep."

Ann Althouse said...

Leora writes:


"If you scroll down on this page you can see there has been no significant increase in delinquency since June 2019. The properties of which I have personal knowledge have not experienced an increase, though the owners expected one. About 5% of renters are delinquent all the time. The states and counties I know about have extensive outreach to provide federal money they have been allocated to allow those delinquent due to Covid shut downs to pay their rent – both landlords and tenants can apply for assistance. Here’s a link to the Orange County, FL site. This is a non-crisis and just another excuse for the usual non-payers."

Ann Althouse said...

Leora says this is the right link.

Ann Althouse said...

Robert writes:

"Congress approved a total of $46 billion in rental aid between two coronavirus relief bills passed under former President Trump and President Biden. …”

“While the program has distributed all of that money to state and local grantees, only $1.5 billion made it to tenants, landlords and utility companies as of May, according to data released by the Treasury Department last week.”

“State and local officials disbursed $1.5 billion in federal rental assistance in June, the Treasury Department reported Wednesday morning, bringing the total rental aid distributed over the first six months of the year to a little over $3 billion — about 6.5 percent of the total aid Congress has allocated.”

Once you check the math, it is not difficult to determine that landlords have been taking it on the chin for the past year and will eventually write off much of the rent owed due to bad debts - thus reducing income tax revenue sent to government coffers. $43 billion in unpaid rents doesn't relieve owners from paying real estate taxes, tenant utility bills and maintaining rental properties since they are unprotected from rent payment suspensions.