On June 29, 2021, five justices on the U.S. Supreme Court agreed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lacked the authority to implement a nationwide eviction moratorium. However, the Court also determined that the moratorium should remain in place until its expiration date on July 31. In a concurring opinion, Justice Kavanaugh opined that leaving moratorium in place would allow for “additional and more orderly distribution of the congressionally appropriated rental assistance funds.”
In May, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia struck down the CDC’s nationwide eviction ban, concluding the moratorium exceeds the limits Congress placed on the CDC’s authority, but kept the moratorium in place pending the government’s appeal. The Georgia and Alabama Association of REALTORS®, who brought the lawsuit on behalf of housing providers nationwide with NAR’s support, had asked the Supreme Court to lift that stay after the D.C. Circuit Court upheld it in June.
Despite the Court denying the request to vacate the stay, private property rights in America scored a significant victory with the order, where four of the Supreme Court’s justices agreed on the merits of the case challenging the lawfulness of the eviction moratorium on a number of statutory and constitutional grounds.These four justices stated they would have granted the request to end the eviction ban immediately. In addition, while Justice Kavanaugh was the deciding vote to keep the moratorium in place until the end of July, he also stated that the CDC lacked authority to issue the nationwide ban on evictions. “In my view, clear and specific congressional authorization (via new legislation) would be necessary for the CDC to extend the moratorium past July 31.”
While the CDC recently extended the eviction moratorium through July 31, 2021, the Supreme Court’s Order should ensure there are no further extensions or similar CDC actions without congressional authority. In the meantime, NAR continues advocating for effective deployment of emergency rental assistance that supports both tenants and housing providers.