Local officials are stepping up. Cities like Seattle and San Francisco and states like New York have temporarily suspended evictions to support residents who’ve been sidelined by the coronavirus and can’t pay rent.
The virus has already upended life as many Americans know it: School closures, canceled gatherings, locked-down nursing homes. Halting evictions is just one way to support the residents who bear the brunt of the change, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said.
“We have entered an unprecedented era for our city,” Durkan said in a statement. “Too many families are already struggling, and Covid-19 virus has disproportionately affected the communities who can least afford it.”
Eviction pauses protect renters
Under most of the suspensions, property owners can’t issue new eviction notices, and existing ones can’t be executed. Many courts, like in Chicago’s Cook County, have already shuttered for weeks, so eviction hearings have been paused, too.
Most of the suspensions last up to 30 days. Boston’s could last for as long as three months.
Some cities are exploring ways to support businesses, too. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said he’s exploring suspending commercial evictions for up to 30 days, too.
Counties like Miami-Dade in Florida haven’t issued specific eviction suspensions. But Miami-Dade police said officers won’t evict residents since Mayor Carlos Gimenez declared a state of emergency last week.
Even property owners are urging officials to pause evictions. The Real Estate Board of New York, an organization of owners who operate 150,000 rental units in the city, pledged in an open letter to not execute any eviction warrants for 90 days.
Officials heard them. This week, New York suspended all eviction proceedings statewide.