The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has extended the federal eviction moratorium, which was expected to expire at the end of the month.
"This is intended to be the final extension of the moratorium," CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky wrote in a statement, which said that the eviction ban has been extended through July 31, 2021.
The eviction moratorium was first put into place last September to stop the spread of COVID-19, and in December it was extended through the end of January; President Joe Biden, in one of his first acts as president, asked the CDC to extend it through March, and it was once again extended through the end of June.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a historic threat to the nation’s public health," Dr. Walensky wrote in her statement. "Keeping people in their homes and out of crowded or congregate settings — like homeless shelters — by preventing evictions is a key step in helping to stop the spread of COVID-19."
The eviction ban, initially put in place last year, provides protection for renters out of concern that having families lose their homes and move into shelters or share crowded conditions with relatives or friends during the pandemic would further spread the highly contagious virus.
Proponents of the moratorium argue it is necessary since the pandemic is still a threat and so many people are at risk of eviction or foreclosure.
But landlords in several states have sued to scrap the order, arguing it was causing them financial hardship and infringing on their property rights. They remain opposed to any extension, saying it does nothing to address the financial challenges facing renters and landlords.
The White House had acknowledged Wednesday that the emergency pandemic protection will have to end at some point. The trick is devising the right sort of off-ramp to make the transition without massive social upheaval.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the separate bans on evictions for renters and mortgage holders were “always intended to be temporary.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.