The Centers for Disease Control extended a moratorium on evictions on Monday just before it was set to expire at the end of March.
The nationwide moratorium was extended by three months and will now end on June 30, the organization announced.
The halt on evictions was first introduced in September to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and has since gone through three extensions including the one issued this week.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a historic threat to the nation's public health," CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a statement.
"Keeping people in their homes and out of crowded or congregate settings — like homeless shelters — by preventing evictions is a key step in helping to stop the spread of COVID-19," she added.
The ongoing pandemic has placed a tremendous weight on renters around the country over the last 12 months.
According to the Center of Budget and Policy Priorities, there are more than 12.1 million adults who have fallen behind on their rent as of the beginning of March.
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As CNN reports, the federal moratorium does not eliminate missed rent payments.
Once it expires, renters will be expected to pay all of their outstanding payments or face eviction.
In their order, the CDC estimated the moratorium led to more than one million fewer evictions when compared to 2019. Even with this, there have been more than 100,000 eviction filings since September, signaling there is a "high demand" and a "likelihood" for mass evictions.
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As PEOPLE previously reported, a group of Texas landlords is fighting to have the moratorium tossed, and a judge there agreed — ruling in February that it was unconstitutional, though he did not issue an injunction.
The Department of Justice is appealing.
In New York, landlords gathered in February to protest a similar state ban on evictions.
"We have tenants abusing the system and they are not paying rent and they're working all along," said David Loclow, a landlord, told WRGB at the time.
In August, one 33-year-old mother from Texas told PEOPLE she was given an eviction notice that included a large smiling emoji with a message saying, in part, "Guess who's moving? You!!!"
She had an emotional message for renters struggling during the pandemic.
"Despite what you may go through, the trials and tribulations that might be thrown at you, never give up," Sonja Lee said. "When it feels like you don't have nothing else left in you, that's when blessings will start pouring.
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