Alex Safarian and Ryan G. Block of Block LLP are leading a 3-part series on the end of the eviction moratorium with JUSTLAW. In part one, our attorneys answer the question: “What to Expect Now That CDC Eviction Moratorium Has Ended?”
Before they dive into the end of the moratorium order, Safarian and Block introduce its background:
The History of the CDC’s Eviction Moratorium
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) introduced the “Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions to Prevent the Further Spread of COVID-19” order on September 4, 2020. Because the order temporarily banned evictions for nonpayment of rent, it became informally known as the “CDC’s Eviction Moratorium.”
According to the order, the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic could lead to a wave of evictions and increase homelessness, thus increasing the spread of COVID-19. Under the eviction moratorium, any rent-paying tenant could sign a declaration of COVID-19-related financial distress and avoid physical eviction until the moratorium expired. Landlords who violated the moratorium would face criminal penalties.
The CDC’s order did not prevent any landlord from filing an eviction lawsuit in court, but it did prevent most evictions from moving forward without serious consequences. Time and time again, the CDC extended the eviction moratorium’s deadline, and some took issue with the order’s broad scope.
Congress’ Involvement with the Eviction Moratorium
Congress was on board with expanding the moratorium deadline until December 2020. After announcing a one-month extension, Congress did not issue any further extensions of the moratorium. This did not stop the CDC from extending the nationwide order, which upset landlords and their associated groups.
One dispute, Alabama Association of Realtors, et al. V. Department of Health and Human Services, et al., 2021 WL 1946376 (May 14, 2021), made it all the way to the Supreme Court. Realtor associations and rental property managers in Alabama and Georgia sued, claiming the CDC lacked the statutory authority to impose the moratorium.
Does the CDC Have the Statutory Authority to Issue a Nationwide Eviction Moratorium?
The District Court rejected the CDC’s authority and nullified the agency’s eviction moratorium at a nationwide level. The Department of Health and Human Services quickly appealed. The D.C. Circuit Court sided with the district court, and the case made it to the Supreme Court.
On June 29, 2021, the Supreme Court backed the CDC, although Justice Brett Kavanaugh explained that he only agreed with the majority because the order was set to expire on July 31, 2021. In short, the CDC did exceed its “existing statutory authority by issuing a nationwide eviction moratorium,” but the Supreme Court allowed the order to continue so that Congress had time to issue rental assistance. The Supreme Court also specified that the CDC would need Congressional authorization to issue further extensions of the moratorium.
As a result of the litigation – and the lack of interference from Congress – the eviction moratorium lapsed on July 31, 2021.
Are People Getting Evicted Now That the Eviction Moratorium is Over?
In this case, no. The Alabama Association of Realtors moved to continue with evictions, but once again found themselves in front of the Supreme Court.
So, what should everyday people expect now that the CDC moratorium has ended? Well, more roadblocks to eviction – and more litigation.
Tune in next time to read part 2 of the series and continue learning about the ongoing eviction moratorium litigation and how it might affect you.
In the meantime, if you need help with unlawful detainer, fair housing, landlord-tenant law, or real estate litigation, look no further than authors Alex Safarian and Ryan G. Block and the rest of our team at Block LLP. We are always available and accessible for personalized and passionate representation.
Call us anytime at (818) 740-5335 or send us a message online for the legal help you need – if we miss your call, we will get back to you in 15 minutes or less!