July 27, 2021

As End of CDC Eviction Moratorium Nears, Warren Calls on Large Corporate Landlords to Avoid Needless Evictions

Large landlords should seek federal rental assistance on behalf of their tenants prior to initiating or carrying out any eviction proceeding; More than 13M Americans are behind on rent; 4M individuals report being very likely or somewhat likely to face eviction in the next two months

Text of Letters (PDF) 

Washington, DC - United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) sent a letter to eleven major corporate landlords, calling on them to commit to helping tenants obtain emergency rental assistance before initiating any eviction proceedings after the impending July 31, 2021 expiration of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) eviction moratorium.

“I am concerned that the expiration of the CDC’s moratorium will lead to a wave of needless evictions, upending the lives of Americans struggling to get back on their feet and disproportionately harming renters of color and renters with children,” Senator Warren wrote.

The expiration of the moratorium at the end of the week threatens to lead to a wave of evictions if landlords evict tenants before they receive federal rental assistance. More than thirteen million Americans are currently behind on rent and over four million individuals report they are very likely or somewhat likely to face an eviction or foreclosure in the next two months.

Congress provided resources to help people stay housed during this public health and economic crisis, including more than $45 billion for the Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program. States are in the process of distributing this money to assist families in making rent and utility payments, including catching up on back rent. . In the month of June, states delivered more than $1.5 billion of ERA funds, assisting nearly 300,000 households. Yet as the CDC eviction moratorium deadline nears, most federal rental assistance has not yet reached tenants. Meanwhile, private equity-backed landlords and other large corporate landlords have evicted thousands of tenants throughout the pandemic, despite the CDC moratorium. Since the CDC moratorium went into effect in September 2020, large corporate landlords have filed for eviction against tens of thousands of households across the country. 

In the letters to the eleven rental housing companies, Senator Warren questioned (1) whether they are appropriately informing tenants of their rights and of the resources available to help them avoid eviction; (2) whether they are helping tenants to obtain congressionally-approved rental assistance; and (3) whether, prior to initiating any eviction proceedings, they are implementing a policy of applying for rental assistance for tenants, with the goal of helping them become or stay current on their rent and retain their housing.

“Your company should be making every possible effort to avoid needless evictions for tenants in properties you own and manage, including by seeking emergency rental assistance on behalf of your tenants prior to initiating or carrying out any eviction proceeding, and informing tenants of their legal rights,” the Senator continued.

Senator Warren has made it a priority to ensure families and individuals have access to stable housing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • In March 2021, Senator Warren helped secure more than $20 billion for the second round of emergency rental assistance, including $362 million for Massachusetts.
  • In July 2020, Senator Warren joined Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Doug Jones (D-Ala.) in a letter to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Federal Housing Finance Agency urging the agencies to enforce bans on housing evictions for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • In June 2020, Senator Warren, Congressman Jesús G. "Chuy" García (D-Ill.), and Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) introduced the Protecting Renters from Evictions and Fees Act of 2020.
  • At the start of the pandemic, in March 2020, Senators Warren, Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), along with Representatives Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Katie Porter (D-Calif.), wrote to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) asking for a moratorium on evicting renters during the coronavirus pandemic.