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New Federal Guidance Lets Landlords Start Eviction Proceedings


While landlords fight eviction moratoriums at the local, state and federal levels, President Donald Trump's administration has issued a clarification that could allow some eviction proceedings to begin sooner than expected.

Though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's national moratorium on evictions remains intact through Dec. 31, the agency updated its information page on the moratorium late Friday night to clarify that landlords are allowed to begin eviction proceedings in court before the ban expires, The Washington Post reports.

The clarification may have been issued in response to the wave of legal challenges mounted against the moratorium, including one joined by the landlord trade group National Apartment Association, the Post reports. While the CDC's moratorium, which the agency said it put in place to prevent a public health crisis that an increase in the country's homeless population could cause, has indeed forestalled an eviction wave, it hasn't been supported by rental assistance legislation that both landlords and tenants agree is necessary.

When the CARES Act — the first (and so far only) comprehensive stimulus bill passed by Congress to ease economic burdens caused by the coronavirus — was passed in the spring, it included a 120-day eviction moratorium. Whereas that bill included a 30-day notice period before an eviction could take place upon the moratorium's expiration, the CDC's eviction ban has no such grace period when it expires. If court proceedings are allowed to take place ahead of time, some landlords could be permitted to kick tenants with unpaid rent out the moment they are allowed on Jan. 1, the Post reports. 

National Low Income Housing Coalition President Diane Yentel told the Post that court proceedings well ahead of the moratorium's expiration could allow landlords to "pressure, scare and intimidate renters into leaving sooner."

Recent U.S. Census Bureau survey data indicates that 1 in 3 Americans believe they could be at risk of eviction or mortgage foreclosure in the next two months, the Post reports.