Landlords Facing Loss of Property and Income During Eviction Bans

Independent landlords struggle to keep up with the cost of rental units and continue to face massive income drops caused by eviction moratoriums. Some of them are pushing back.

September 16, 2020, 10:00 AM PDT

By Lee Flannery @leecflannery


Apartment renter

Benoit Daoust / Shutterstock

Nationwide eviction bans in the name of public safety and economic security during the coronavirus pandemic have kept millions of renters in their homes, protected from displacement. Katy O'Donnell says the bans have produced "an unintended side effect" of threatening the livelihoods of residential landlords.

"The sweeping order effectively requires landlords to subsidize distressed tenants’ housing through the end of the year or face criminal penalties and hefty fines. That’s a tall order for the country’s 8 million independent landlords — most of whom lease a unit here or there on property they own without the financial backing of professional management companies," writes O'Donnell.

Some of the landlords to which O'Donnell refers are the owners of single-family buildings with one to four units, which make up for 22 million units in the United States, according to research by the Urban Institute. With the expiration of the CARES act in late July, and without a new financial relief package in the works, lobbyists are working on behalf of building owners to urge Congress to pass some form of rental assistance. 

Housing advocates say that investment in rental aid would help renters and landlords alike. Aid slows ever-growing back rent for tenants and generates some income for landlords who must provide rental subsidies during the pandemic.  

"Landlords are also challenging Trump's action in court," O'Donnell reports. "A Virginia landlord filed the first federal challenge to the new order on Tuesday, arguing that the CDC is misinterpreting its authority under a 1944 public health law that gives the agency certain powers to prevent communicable diseases from crossing state lines."

Landlords say that the moratorium put in place by the Centers for Disease Control is the equivalent of a state law rewrite. “If the CDC is right, that that regulation allows them to basically do anything they want to as long as they say it’s for public health, then there’s no limit,” laments attorney Caleb Kruckenberg.

Friday, September 11, 2020 in Politico

A conceptual rendering of three high-speed rail trains. The middle train is orange; the other two are black.

The California High-Speed Rail Project Illustrates America’s Transit Issues

Slow progress and a bloated budget have plagued the High-Speed Rail project linking San Francisco to Los Angeles, exposing deeper issues with American transit projects.

May 22, 2022 - Eric Carlson

Parent and child walking, holding hands on mixed-use trail with trees

What Role Does Health Care Play in Community Development?

Cities are economically diverse and require accessible health care systems, but this can be challenging to implement. Urban developers are working alongside health professionals to create affordable care for city residents.

May 18, 2022 - Devin Partida

Multi-Family Development

Density and Driving: A Second Look

A common argument against more compact housing is that increased population density will only reduce vehicle miles traveled at moderate levels of density, as opposed to very low-density and very high-density areas. But this might not be so.

May 22, 2022 - Michael Lewyn

A row of white pickup trucks at a car dealership.

Want to Drive a Big Pickup Truck in D.C.? It’s About to Get (Even More) Expensive

D.C. is considering a $500 vehicle license fee for private vehicles over 6,000 pounds.

2 minutes ago - Bloomberg

Arlington County, Virginia

Zoning Reform Gains Momentum in Northern Virginia

Arlington County and Alexandria are moving forward with actions that could potentially launch a new era of planning and development in their respective communities.

1 hour ago - Greater Greater Washington

Multi-Family Housing

Zoning Reform Works, but Is No Magic Bullet

Improving housing affordability and boosting housing production requires more than just eliminating single-family zoning.

May 26 - Bloomberg CityLab

HUD’s 2022 Innovative Housing Showcase

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Expanding HUD’s Eviction Protection Grant Program

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

New Updates on The Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.