Plaintiffs in a lawsuit seeking to end the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s nationwide eviction moratorium said today they’ll take their case to the Supreme Court.
The moratorium is set to expire June 30 if there are no further extensions, but it has faced a growing number of legal challenges from housing providers. In early May, the U.S. District Court judge from the District of Columbia vacated the CDC moratorium, calling it an overreach of authority. But the U.S. Department of Justice appealed the ruling, and the district court issued a stay pending that appeal. On Wednesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled against a motion by the plaintiffs seeking to vacate the stay. The plaintiffs in the case include the Alabama and Georgia REALTOR® associations, two housing providers, and their property management companies.
As a result of the moratorium and other protections put in place as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many property owners have not received rent payments from tenants in months—in some cases, over a year—putting a strain on their finances and their ability to maintain their properties. The longer the moratorium continues, the bigger the problem will be for both housing providers and tenants, who are required to pay all owed rent when it ends.
From the start of the pandemic, the National Association of REALTORS® said, to avoid a crisis, an eviction moratorium must be accompanied by rental assistance payments to housing providers. NAR has helped secure a total of $46.55 billion in federal rental assistance, which is slowly being distributed by states. And while states are scrambling to disburse the funds, NAR says the federal funding hasn’t been enough to make up for the loss in payments. Many housing providers—especially "mom and pop" owners with four or fewer units—are still waiting to receive any sort of financial relief.
COVID-19–related national housing protections have been in place since March 2020. The CDC's order went into effect in September 2020, shortly after the expiration of a narrower set of eviction protections, established by the CARES Act.
"The public health situation in this country is improving daily, the economy is growing, and the unemployment rate is falling," says one NAR policy analyst. "With rental assistance for tenants secured, it is time to restore the housing sector to its healthy, former function. But we also need immediate and absolute clarity from our federal court system on property rights in America to avoid similar financial harm in the future."
Read more about the impact on property owners:
Housing Providers Struggle Under Eviction Moratorium