Sean Towner

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Center for Disease Control (“CDC”) issued a moratorium on residential evictions for non-payment of rent in mid-2020. The CDC’s moratorium prevented residential landlords from evicting tenants who failed to pay rent if the tenant executed a short “tenant declaration”. Landlords were still able to evict tenants who violated other terms/rules of their lease or whose lease had expired and was not renewed by the landlord.  

Since the CDC’s moratorium commenced, $46.5 billion in interest-free funding has been made available to assist tenants with paying any rental arrearages they may have accumulated. Despite this, the CDC’s moratorium was continued several times. 

The CDC’s moratorium expired on July 31, 2021. Two days later,  however, the Biden administration extended the moratorium through October 3, 2021. This extension was immediately challenged before the United States Supreme Court. 

On August 26, 2021, the Supreme Court blocked the Biden administration’s extension of the moratorium. The Court found the CDC’s power did not extend to issuing a moratorium on evictions. The majority said the Biden administration was arguing to give the agency “a breathtaking amount of authority.”

“If a federally imposed eviction moratorium is to continue, Congress must specifically authorize it,” wrote the High Court. “It is indisputable that the public has a strong interest in combating the spread of the Covid-19 Delta variant. But our system does not permit agencies to act unlawfully even in pursuit of desirable ends.”

“It is hard to see what measures this interpretation would place outside the CDC’s reach. … Could the CDC, for example, mandate free grocery delivery to the homes of the sick or vulnerable? Require manufacturers to provide free computers to enable people to work from home? Order telecommunications companies to provide free high-speed Internet service to facilitate remote work?” the Supreme Court asked. 

Thus, the eviction moratorium has officially ended. Residential landlords may now evict those tenants who have failed to pay their rent during the pandemic.  

This article is for information purposes only and is not intended to constitute legal advice.