Millions Facing Eviction Need Money, Not Moratoriums

The Biden administration should try harder to deliver emergency rental assistance.

President Joe Biden has made a show of trying to rescue millions of American renters, pushing through yet another national eviction ban on what he has admitted are shaky legal grounds. He’s wrong. What struggling families and landlords need is money, not moratoriums.

The economic shock of the pandemic has deepened what was already a troubling U.S. housing crisis. As of mid-July, an estimated 3.6 million households were somewhat or very likely to be evicted in the next two months, according to survey data published by the Census Bureau. Since September of last year, the federal government has responded with a series of moratoriums.

The Biden administration’s latest version bars evictions of households earning no more than $99,000 a year ($198,000 for joint tax filers) in counties with “heightened levels of community transmission” — meaning some 90% of renters. It expires on Oct. 3.

One problem is that the measure will likely be ruled illegal, as the president has acknowledged. Earlier this year, the Supreme Court indicated that a new national ban would require legislation. Biden’s cavalier disregard of that guidance is surprising and unfortunate.

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