The Debate Around Eviction Moratoriums
During the height of the pandemic last year in the United States, then-President Donald Trump worked with various governors and state representatives to start eviction freezes around the country, called moratoriums. Basically, this meant that a landlord could not evict a tenant for not paying rent. Over a year later, and the Biden Administration is under some serious heat from the Democratic politicians and groups to extend indefinitely these eviction moratoriums. The latest news is that any day now an executive order may come down, federally banning evictions in all 50 states. Even though the Supreme Court has officially ruled that this is not in the President's power, most expect that President Joe Biden is still going to sign the order, which will go into immediate effect, and just have lawyers fight it in court.
What does this mean for America? Well, more than anything, it means that the divide separating the polarized sides of the aisle is just widening at a rate never before seen. More and more people are getting behind either side of this issue, and things are just getting very messy in the public. A lot of people forget that on both sides of this issue, we're dealing with real people. On one side, we have people who may be struggling to pay rent. On the other side, we have people whose livelihoods depend on drawing rent from tenants.
So, who's right and who's wrong in this situation? It's really impossible to tell right now, because such a move by the federal government is entirely unprecedented. In effect, this could be the federal government claiming that people have a right to free housing, and landlords have zero rights to charge money for properties they purchased legally. Yes, a mess is what's going to end up happening, but each side of the debate believe that they have the correct points on the topic.
The Pro Side
For people who support these moratoriums on evictions, they claim that landlords can more than support themselves and do not need to draw money in the form of rent payments from some of America's poorest individuals. They claim that demanding rent is a predatory practice and every individual should have the right to live in a suitable, safe shelter. They also claim that landlords are demanding too much money for rent and that this is the reason people cannot afford to pay.
The people who side with the government's moratoriums here view landlords as a class of greedy business-people who aim to hurt everyday Americans for profit. They want an indefinite nationwide freeze on all rent payments, whether it's an apartment or house, and they also want this freeze to especially extend to banks and mortgages. Though it is unclear as of yet if Biden's proposed order would include huge corporations like banking lenders or just everyday landlords.
The Con Side
People who are against the moratoriums are trying to point out that the landlords who will be affected are actually just middle-class people who rely on other people renting their properties to pay their own bills. These aren't rich people, a lot have pointed out; instead, they're just getting by on those rent payments. One thing that these people are also trying to convey is the message that landlords cannot file for typical unemployment. The people who rent these properties, if on unemployment, are receiving $600 every single week, which is more than enough to pay their rent, buy groceries, etc. However, should landlords lose their income, they might not qualify for unemployment, at least at the state level, since being a property owner isn't a job per se, and therefore not eligible for state money. So, at best, they might only receive a federal subsidy of $300 per week, which means that the property owner would only be making half the amount of the people refusing to pay rent.
This side of the aisle also claims that people are buying more material goods than ever before. "Why pay your rent when you don't have to?" said one popular right-wing social media personality. "Just buy a PlayStation 5, a bigger TV, and new clothing, and the government will force your landlord to let you live as a squatter for free."
Only time will tell the impact of extended eviction moratoriums. Though no matter which side of the aisle you're on, the math is very clear. People who are unemployed are receiving more than enough money from the government to pay their rent. Many are simply choosing not to pay.
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