UPDATED 12:43 PM PT – Friday, August 27, 2021
In a 6-3 vote on Thursday, the Supreme Court blocked the Biden administration’s eviction moratorium. According to the high court, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doesn’t have the authority to impose an eviction moratorium. Rather, “if a federally imposed eviction moratorium is to continue, Congress must specifically authorize it.”
In the ruling, justices said the CDC imposed a nationwide moratorium in reliance on a decades-old statute that authorizes the implementation of measures like pest extermination. The court said the move strains the belief that the statute grants the center the sweeping authority it asserts.
Reports said there are now more than 15 million people living in households who owe as much as $20 billion total in back rent. Landlords have repeatedly voiced their concern over the moratorium during the pandemic, arguing that without rent they’re out of business. They pointed out how they can’t pay maintenance staff or fix their buildings without income.
“You’re asking me as a private sector landlord to provide public or free housing. It’s not my role,” stated Gary Zaremba. “My role is to supply housing, get paid for it, and if you’re preventing me from evicting someone for not paying their rent, then you’re asking me to be subsidized housing.”
The Supreme Court halts Biden’s eviction moratorium, which began as Trump’s eviction moratorium.
I have consistently asserted, under both administrations, that the orders were unconstitutional.https://t.co/iZFoeZ1nXv
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) August 27, 2021
On Thursday, the Biden administration said it was disappointed in the ruling and have urged states, cities and landlords to prevent evictions.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki drew attention to the renters helped by the moratorium, however, she failed to address the landlords who were prohibited from removing tenants even under extreme circumstances, such as when their property was being damaged. The Biden administration allowed an earlier federal moratorium to lapse at the end of July, confident the fight with the CDC moratorium would get caught up in the courts.
While the CDC ban has been shot down, state-issued moratoriums will remain in places like California and Illinois, where eviction protections have been extended to Sept. 30 and Sept. 18 respectively. Meanwhile on Thursday, embattled Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) tweeted that Golden State renters would not be impacted by the court’s decision, saying the state’s eviction moratorium remains in effect.
California renters will NOT be impacted by this news, the state’s eviction moratorium remains in effect.
We’re focused on ensuring tenants and small landlords get the rent relief they need under California’s renter assistance program, the largest in the country. https://t.co/VZ0hjaMqKS
— Office of the Governor of California (@CAgovernor) August 27, 2021
Rental housing associations have argued the state ban is unconstitutional, explaining how incentivizing tenants not to fulfill their obligations is irresponsible.
Earlier this week, reports said only about a tenth of federal rental aid had been paid out to renters, landlords and utility companies so far. Additionally, according to the Treasury Department, just over $5 billion of the $46 billion allocated has been distributed to nearly one million households.