Back in the summer, leftists, led by Missouri Democratic Rep. Cori Bush, predicted the world would literally end for renters once the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the eviction ban imposed by the federal government because of COVID-19.
In its decision last August, the six-justice majority asserted that the CDC clearly assumed power it did not possess. The agency, the court said, relied on “a decades-old statute that authorizes it to implement measures like fumigation and pest extermination.”
“It strains credulity to believe that this statute grants the CDC the sweeping authority that it asserts,” the majority noted. “If a federally imposed eviction moratorium is to continue, Congress must specifically authorize it.”
Congress, of course, did no such thing, and the Biden administration worked to continue the moratorium in violation of the court’s directive.
Still, White House press secretary Jen Psaki predicted that because of the ruling, “families will face the painful impact of evictions, and communities across the country will face greater risk of exposure to COVID-19.”
Bush, who was a Black Lives Matter activist before coming to Congress, tearfully claimed 11 million people would be homeless because of greedy property owners who demanded to be paid for the service they provided. Hers was the extreme estimate, but other liberal groups still claimed “millions” would be kicked to the curb.
Yet The Washington Times reported on Sunday that the eviction hysteria was “the crisis that didn’t happen.”
“Eviction filings remain below pre-pandemic levels despite dire predictions of mass homelessness when the Supreme Court struck down the eviction moratorium in August,” the Times reported.
The paper, citing research by the Eviction Lab at Princeton University, pointed out that over the first three months since the moratorium ended, eviction filings did increase by roughly 20 percent compared with the last three months the ban was in place.
Which could be expected since landlords were not allowed to toss anyone out.
“Yet the number of eviction cases remains roughly 40% below pre-pandemic levels,” the Times reported.
John Vecchione, a lawyer with the New Civil Liberties Alliance, which sued the government over the moratorium, told the Times, “This was a manufactured crisis that allowed the administrative state to make up rules it wasn’t allowed to make up. The idea that these landlords are itching to throw someone out is a lot of hooey.”
“The eviction onslaught never materialized” for several reasons, the Times reported.
Local governments imposed their own moratoriums after the court ruling, and people went back to work as COVID-19 restrictions eased.
Another primary factor was that the federal government began paying rents, from a $46 billion rental assistance program contained in a COVID relief package.
“While no single factor undercut some of the gloomiest predictions, each played a role in keeping evictions well below historical averages,” the Times noted.
Still, landlords played a big role as well, by not being the heartless monsters that liberals portrayed them.
Housing Matters, a branch of the liberal Urban Institute, did a study in October that revealed most landlords seek to barter with delinquent tenants.
They would prefer to forgive back rent, set up payment plans for tenants, assist with finding social services, or accept sweat equity such as cleaning and maintenance to cover the back rent, according to the Times.
As Vecchione told the Times, “No one wants to evict their tenant. It’s a pain in the neck to evict a tenant. When the market functions as it should, they make deals. These deals are being made again.”
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