If this policy had been announced by Barack Obama (or Joe Biden) patriots all over the land would be talking about grabbing their guns and marching on Washington. But since it’s Trump, I guess it’s OK:
The Trump administration is again pushing the envelope of its executive authority by issuing a new blanket eviction moratorium that applies to all rental properties nationwide. The order, published Tuesday, is a dramatic expansion of the now-expired eviction moratorium passed by Congress in March, and could potentially impose heavy criminal penalties on landlords for attempting to remove non-paying tenants from their properties.
According to the order advanced by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) yesterday, tenants earning up to $99,000 ($198,000 for joint filers) cannot be evicted for not paying their rent provided they tell their landlord in writing that they’ve made all efforts to obtain government assistance, have lost income or received extraordinary out-of-pocket medical bills, and that their eviction would force them into homelessness or into a crowded living situation.
. . . .
The CDC order goes far beyond the federal eviction mortarium passed as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in March. That congressionally authorized policy only covered the 28 percent of multifamily residential units with a federally backed mortgage. It expired at the end of July.
This is the kind of thing legislatures do, not presidents, and there is good reason for that because legislatures better weigh conflicting interests and tend to take action in a less blunderbuss fashion. Even when legislatures do it, actions like this always carry unintended consequences, since landlords still have to make mortgage payments. This pulls the rug out from under landlords who are, all over the country, in the middle of negotiations with their tenants who can’t pay, attempting to persuade them to make partial payments so the mortgage can be covered. Landlords will now be even more reluctant to rent to people with poor credit and will likely require even greater guarantees in advance in the form of rental payments or increased security deposits. Homelessness will likely increase, not decrease. It’s socialistic and it’s autocratic and it’s bad policy.
Also, the justification offered here (the spread of COVID) is wafer-thin. It’s probably a violation of the Constitution’s Takings Clause and it’s unlikely to withstand court scrutiny — and make no mistake, that’s coming, because landlords have associations and the associations have lawyers.
By the way, tenants are still on the hook for the rent; it’s not forgiven but the consequences for non-payment are deferred until January, kind of like Trump’s payroll tax holiday for federal workers. Trump has pulled the pin on a couple of grenades that are not set to explode until after Biden is elected (assuming he is). The chaos that will ensue is mind-boggling.
None of that matters to Donald Trump. There are more renters than landlords, and this is nothing but a naked grab for votes by someone who can read the polls, even if he doesn’t read anything else that is not a short document wholly about him. No wonder he’s bragging about it.