Well, when you reward bad behavior, you get more bad behavior. The bad behavior underlying this matter is deciding not to go back to work. Why should one do so if your are making more on unemployment than when you worked, and you can live rent free? When the government mandated that landlords can’t evict anyone due to nonpayment of rent, why didn’t that same government mandate that mortgages cannot be foreclosed on because the same landlords cannot pay? The landlords are never going to get the unpaid rent, yet they will be expected to pay the mortgage payments or lose their property. Many of those people that are choosing to ignore their rent payments because of the non-eviction edict, could have continued to pay their rent but played the system to avoid doing so.
When you are ordered (by those who have a monopoly of force) to provide the fruits of your labor (or capital) to others for free—you become a slave!
(see my tagline)
On the other hand, I'm putting myself in the position of a tenant who has just lost his job because the governor issued a shutdown order and forced my employer's business to close. In that case, I'd probably feel absolutely no legal or moral obligation to pay a single bill to anyone. The more people and businesses I owe money to, the more people and business owners there will be getting all over the governor's ass to lift the stupid shutdown orders. The state would probably be better off in the long run under this scenario.
I'd be interested to see what measures landlords are starting to take to deal with this situation moving forward. For one thing, an "eviction" only takes place when a tenant stops paying rent. When there's a moratorium on evictions, the tenant has all the leverage in the world against the landlord. But the landlord gets a lot of the leverage back again when the term of the tenant's lease ends. The day after the lease ends, the landlord can change the locks and take possession of whatever is inside the premises.
I fully expect landlords to start adopting strong defensive measures to protect themselves from similar disasters in the future. The most obvious one I can envision is to demand payment for all the rent up front for the entire term of the lease. If you are a tenant signing a one-year lease on an apartment for $1,000 per month, then you must pay $12,000 up front just to get in the door. The landlord might even be creative and lay out the lease terms so it shows you paying $12,000 for the first month and then $0 per month for the next eleven months.