Cities Move to Suspend Evictions

March 17, 2020

Cities across the country are issuing temporary bans on evictions as the COVID-19 outbreak worsens. From coast to coast, cities such as San Francisco, Miami, and Baltimore are enacting moratoriums on evictions. State lawmakers in New York have proposed legislation for a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures. Further, the Real Estate Board of New York, a trade group that represents developers and property managers, has issued a three-month moratorium on evictions.

“We must avoid the creation of a greater public health emergency that would result from subjecting thousands more families to homelessness, and we must protect our residents from the fear of potential eviction resulting from economic dislocation,” San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo told MarketWatch about the city’s proposal for a temporary moratorium on evictions.

Two major landlord groups, the Rental Housing Association of Washington and the Washington Multi-Family Housing Association, have called a 30-day moratorium on evictions in King County. The Seattle area has one of the largest clusters of coronavirus cases in the U.S.

“A hold on physical evictions that allows court proceedings to continue has the dual benefit of keeping residents in their homes while opening paths to emergency rental assistance funds at the state and local level,” the Rental Housing Association of Washington said in a statement. “The 30-day hold can be renewed each month based on the needs of the community and status of COVID-19 illnesses.”

In the U.S., there are about 3.6 million eviction filings per year. That is about 300,000 filings per month, according to data from the Eviction Lab, an organization at Princeton University that tracks evictions.

“This pandemic is a stark reminder that housing is health care,” Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, told MarketWatch. “Policymakers at all levels should immediately implement moratoriums on foreclosures and evictions.”