California has just extended its moratorium on evictions through September. That’s more than three months into the future. The state of Washington has also extended its eviction moratorium, and other blue states are expected to follow suit.
The federal government, courtesy of the CDC, has a current ban on evictions that ends on June 30. At least, it was supposed to end on June 30. Sources tell CNBC that the eviction ban will be extended another 30 days for all Americans.
Unless they find another excuse for renters not to pay their rent.
Meanwhile, landlords are suffering with no relief in sight. The government appears bound and determined to destroy the rental housing market by placing landlords in the impossible position of maintaining their property without adequate rental income.
That the CDC ever had the authority to impose a moratorium on rent is very questionable. And the National Review editors wonder why these bans on evictions are even necessary?
It is important to bear in mind who imposed the moratorium and why: It was imposed by the Centers for Disease Control as a measure meant to reduce transmission of the coronavirus. There have always been significant legal questions about whether the moratorium could be rationalized as a regulation of interstate commerce (since rental agreements are overwhelmingly intrastate transactions). Moreover, even assuming arguendo the validity of such a measure imposed by the executive branch (given that the Constitution empowers Congress, not the president, to regulate commerce), there is significant reason to doubt that the moratorium decree was within the statutory authority Congress has granted to the CDC. But all that aside, the time for this stated justification has clearly passed.
States have been lifting coronavirus restrictions for months. While tens of thousands of businesses went under during the pandemic, employers are crying for workers.
COVID-19 infection rates have collapsed, about half of the population has been fully vaccinated, and more than three-quarters of the population has received at least one dose of a vaccine. While it is possible that the facts on the ground may change, for now the evidence all suggests that the eviction moratorium is no longer justified as a public-health measure, if it ever was.
So why the continued ban on evictions? Political fear of the backlash is why. There are a lot more renters than landlords, and Democrats have a childish view of most landlords.
Our left-wing friends talk about landlords as though they were all twirling their mustaches like Snidely Whiplash when not rolling in piles of gold ducats like Scrooge McDuck. In reality, many landlords are small businesses or individuals, some of whom have low incomes. Low-income landlords tend to derive a greater share of their household incomes from rent than do higher-income landlords, meaning that eviction moratoria do not prevent economic hardship but merely transfer it from one party to another.
Thus, are the needs for “fairness” satisfied.
The unemployment rate remains stubbornly — and predictably — high because of massive taxpayer subsidies and no consequences for not working. That may be an oversimplification but not by much. Until people believe they have no choice but to work, jobs will go unfilled and landlords won’t get paid.