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Trump administration moves to halt evictions through end of year

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Demonstrators hold up signs as they gather at Brooklyn housing court during a "No Evictions, No Police" national day of action on September 1, 2020 in New York City.

Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

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The Trump administration Tuesday evening put out a directive to stop property owners form evicting some tenants amid the COVID-19 pandemic. It’ll take effect this Friday, and it runs through the end of the year.

Marketplace’s Nancy Marshall-Genzer is following this, and she spoke with “Marketplace Morning Report” host David Brancaccio. The following is an edited transcript of their conversation.

Nancy Marshall-Genzer: Tenants have to sign a declaration that they’ve tried to get government help to pay the rent, that they won’t earn more than $99,000 this year, for an individual, or $198,000 for couples and that they can’t pay the rent because they’ve lost their job or had extraordinary medical expenses. The order is from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC says if waves of people were evicted, they’d have to move in with other people or into shelters. The CDC says this could lead to overcrowding and possible outbreaks of the coronavirus.

David Brancaccio: What happens after the eviction moratorium lifts on Dec. 31?

Marshall-Genzer: At that point, landlords can require tenants to pay all the rent that’s due. Mary Cunningham, vice president for metropolitan housing and communities policy at the Urban Institute, told me this pause in evictions really just kicks the can down the road.

Mary Cunningham: So at the end of the year renters will still owe their back rent, they may owe fees to their landlords, so they’ll really be in rough shape if Congress doesn’t act and fund rental assistance.

Brancaccio: But property owners, landlords, still have their mortgages and other bills. Is there any aid for them?

Marshall-Genzer: There’s not specific aid for landlords in this executive order. The Trump administration says federal block grants can be used to help landlords so they don’t default on their mortgages, but it’s not clear how that would work. The administration also says there are funds in the CARES Act signed into law in the spring can be used to help landlords and property owners. But Cunningham says that’s not nearly enough.

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