Detail

Realtor Coalition Submits Emergency Appeal to Supreme Court to Reject CDC Eviction Moratorium Ban

  • June 4, 2021

The U.S. Supreme Court building

A coalition of Realtor associations on June 3 submitted an emergency appeal to the Supreme Court to reject the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) national eviction moratorium, which is scheduled to expire June 30. (SCOTUSblog, June 3)

Why It Matters

  • The federal eviction moratorium – originally enacted by Congress more than a year ago in the CARES Act – was extended by both the Trump and Biden Administrations by executive orders to prevent mass evictions in the face of a public health emergency. A further extension by President Biden is likely. 

  • The Supreme Court appeal in Alabama Association of Realtors v. Department of Health and Human Services comes after a DC Circuit court this week upheld a federal judge’s May 5 ruling, which allowed the moratorium to remain in effect. (Roundtable Weekly, May 7)

  • The Realtor coalition argued in its 35-page pleading to the high court that “Congress never gave the CDC the staggering amount of power it now claims.” (NBCNews and CNN, June 3)

  • The filing also emphasized that the CDC’s moratorium “shifted the pandemic’s financial burdens from the nation’s 30 to 40 million renters to its 10 to 11 million landlords—most of whom, like applicants, are individuals and small businesses—resulting in over $13 billion in unpaid rent per month.” (Case number 21-5093 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.)

  • National Multifamily Housing Council CEO Doug Bibby on June 2 told Connect CRE that rental housing is dominated by non-institutional, ‘mom and pop” property owners. Bibby stated, “When eviction moratoria policies are treated as ‘rental holidays,’ these individual property owners tend to suffer disproportionately – as do renters, who end up with fewer options.”

  • Bibby added, “While federal policymakers ultimately provided $46.5 billion for emergency rental assistance, the continuation of eviction moratoriums has renewed focus on broader questions of eviction practices, as well as raised concerns about the disruption in the market once the moratoriums expire.” (ConnectCRE, June 2)
  • The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced yesterday that it is extending for a third time the ongoing moratorium on evictions on multifamily properties backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which the agency oversees. The housing regulator’s extension is now in effect until the end of September, preventing affected housing providers from evicting tenants for not paying rent, or charging late fees for unpaid rent. (Reuters, June 3)

Distribution Problems 

Capitol Dome Dusk

  • Congress approved $25 billion of emergency rental assistance in December 2020 under the Consolidated Appropriations Act. An additional $21.6 billion was allocated in March 2021 under the American Rescue Plan Act. The Treasury Department announced on May 7 that it was releasing the second allocation, along with new guidance for local municipalities administering emergency rental assistance programs. (Roundtable Weekly, May 14)
  • State and local authorities have been overwhelmed with how to allocate the influx of funds, leaving many tenants and housing providers waiting weeks or months for the assistance. (Washington Post, June 4 and Wall Street Journal, April 13)
  • The Roundtable is part of a broad real estate coalition that has urged state, county and municipal officials to distribute the allocated federal funds as soon as possible. (Coalition letter, April 15)
  • The coalition letter emphasized the need “to quickly and fully allocate available American Rescue Plan federal funds to provide assistance to renters, consumer-facing small businesses, and impacted industries such as retail, tourism, travel, and hospitality that are having trouble paying rents, mortgages or remaining viable enterprises due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
  • The letter adds, “Such assistance would make a big difference in the lives of thousands upon thousands of COVID-19 affected renters and businesses in their cities, counties, and states – and would also provide stability to the buildings and communities in which they live.

As this week’s emergency appeal is considered by to the Supreme Court, there are several states that will continue to ban evictions beyond June 30. Additionally, the state of Washington last month guaranteed tenants facing eviction the right to counsel. Maryland and Connecticut are considering similar measures. (CNBC, June 3)

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