The eviction moratorium is back, but this time it’s more complicated.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is issuing a new eviction moratorium for nonpayment of rent in U.S. counties experiencing “substantial and high levels of community transmission” of COVID-19. This moratorium will run through October 3, 2021.

Here in California, renters are already protected by a statewide eviction moratorium through the end of September 2021, and while the CDC’s moratorium extends this order by only three days, it notes that the moratorium may be extended further in the future.

Of course, the CDC’s new moratorium does not apply to all of California, only to those counties experiencing the highest levels of pandemic spread. In California, this currently includes all counties except for a couple northern counties with low populations.

For a full list of counties, use the CDC’s search tool. Any county experiencing a “substantial” (red) or “high” (orange) level of community transmission falls under the moratorium.

Further, counties not currently experiencing high rates of spread are not forever exempt. When a county’s status changes to show high levels of spread, they will be added to the list of counties under an eviction moratorium. On the other hand, when a county drops below significant levels of infection and remains below that level for 14 consecutive days, they will be removed from the list.

Notably, a tenant living in a county under the eviction moratorium may still be evicted when they:

  • engage in criminal activity on the premises;
  • threaten the health and safety of other residents (however, this does not allow the landlord to evict a tenant for having COVID-19);
  • damage or pose a significant threat to damage the property;
  • break any building code or health ordinance relating to health and safety; or
  • violate anything in their lease aside from the non-payment of rent or payment of fees.

Delta throws housing a curveball

After allowing the previous eviction moratorium to expire at the end of July 2021, why has the CDC issued another order to halt evictions?

As more information becomes available on the Delta variant, government agencies are becoming more cautious.

Counties with the highest proportion of dense, crowded households have experienced 2.6 times as many COVID-19-related deaths than counties with the lowest share of crowding. Evictions lead to further crowding, through households merging and more people accessing shelters, where outbreaks are common. Therefore, reducing the need for shared housing by preventing evictions is key to reducing COVID-19 spread, and deaths, according to the CDC.

In fact, the CDC’s model predicts that lifting the eviction moratorium at this time will lead to a 30% increase in COVID-19 occurrences among those who will lose their housing.

The CDC notes in their latest order that they may need to extend this moratorium after the October 3 expiration date. Stay tuned to firsttuesday as eviction rules continue to shift during the ongoing pandemic response.

Related page:

Moratorium Watch 2021