Supreme Court Strikes Down CDC Eviction Ban

Posted By: Jon Lowder Blog,

On August 26, 2021 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-3 to strike down the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) federal eviction moratorium. That means that evictions can proceed immediately unless there are additional moratoria enacted at the state or local level. The following is from an update sent this morning by the Apartment Association of North Carolina:

The Supreme Court is allowing evictions to resume across the United States, blocking the Biden administration from enforcing the temporary ban put in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in communities experiencing high rates of transmission. In a 6-3 vote Thursday evening the Supreme Court ruled the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which reimposed the Federal eviction moratorium on August 3rd, had exceeded its authority.

In the unsigned eight-page majority opinion the Supreme Court stated the CDC, in barring evictions, relied on "a decades-old statute that authorizes it to implement measures like fumigation and pest extermination" and "strains credulity to believe that this statute grants the CDC the sweeping authority that it asserts." Although the White House released a statement calling on any federal, state, and local authorities with the power to stop evictions — as well as landlords — to do so.

Today evictions can resume nationwide. It is important to note, the CARES Act 30-day notices are still likely required for covered properties, and properties remain subject to any filing restrictions due to rental assistance programs they may have taken part in. We encourage members to consult with legal council to ensure you are in compliance.

Next is an excerpt from an update sent this morning by the National Apartment Association to its members:

It is important to note that yesterday’s SCOTUS ruling only applies to the CDC’s federal eviction order, not any additional moratoria enacted at the state or local levels. Please continue to follow all state and local laws and regulations and consult trusted local counsel for clarification as needed. Further, the ruling specified that a federal moratorium could only be implemented through Congressional action – NAA continues to advocate against such a move ahead of Congress’ September return, and the possibility of an eviction moratorium bill passing through both the House and Senate is slim. This is an evolving situation and NAA will keep you apprised of further developments. 

In response to the news, NAA swiftly released a press statement applauding the Court’s ruling and reiterating our long-held belief that the CDC’s order was unlawful and overreaching. Further, we emphasized that it is time to work towards a sustainable solution – fully funding rental debt for both renters and housing providers and streamlining distribution of rental assistance funds – to keep renters housed and ensure that housing remains operational and affordable in the long-term. 

In the meantime, NAA continues its lawsuit seeking more than $26 billion in damages for rental housing providers harmed by the CDC’s order. The SCOTUS ruling is a right step in making housing providers and residents whole again, and further affirms the lawsuit’s goal of recovering lost rent suffered under an unlawful federal mandate. Your support is encouraged.

One point I'd like to make in addition to the information provided by AANC and NAA: if you are participating in any of the Emergency Rental Assistance Programs, please keep in mind that many of those programs put limitations on evictions as a condition of participation. That means if you immediately proceed with evictions you might violate the terms of those agreements. You should most definitely consult with your legal counsel as you consider how to move forward.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. We will also provide any updates as they become available.