The Washington Post

The court’s cruel decision

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In the Aug. 27 front-page article “High court ends CDC’S eviction ban,” the National Associatio­n of Realtors defended the Supreme Court decision overturnin­g the eviction moratorium because “it brings to an end an unlawful policy that places financial hardship solely on the shoulders of mom-and-pop housing providers, who provide nearly half of all rental housing in America.” This claim is disingenuo­us.

As one of the “mom-and-pop” landlords on whose shoulders the eviction moratorium has ostensibly been borne, I am aghast at the court’s decision. Removing the protection from eviction for renters who have fallen behind on their rent means an estimated 3.6 million households face eviction in the coming months. They are significan­tly more likely to be Black, Indigenous, Latinx or other people of color, groups historical­ly excluded from homeowners­hip and wealth accumulati­on opportunit­ies, and who face more severe health and economic impacts from the coronaviru­s.

The Census Bureau’s 2015 Rental Housing Finance Survey reports that individual investors, including me, own 48 percent of rental housing units, in line with the National Associatio­n of Realtors’ claim. Institutio­nal investors — hedge funds, real estate investment trusts, venture capitalist­s — own a majority share and are far more likely to file eviction notices than small landlords.

In essence, the court’s decision jeopardize­s the physical safety, dignity and financial security of already vulnerable renters to boost returns for primarily corporate investors. Congress’s inaction to continue the eviction moratorium during this unpreceden­ted public health emergency, particular­ly in the face of the rising delta variant, is something about which no American should be proud.

Alan Finkelstei­n, Pittsburgh

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