The D.C. Circuit Court today allowed the Biden administration’s latest federal eviction moratorium to remain in effect, denying an Aug. 14 emergency appeal by the Alabama and Georgia Associations of Realtors to overturn the ban. (Politico and Wall Street Journal, Aug. 20)
The Legal Challenge
- The Realtor groups’ challenge was filed immediately after a federal judge’s ruling allowed the latest eviction moratorium – effective through Oct. 3 – to remain in place until higher courts decide its legality. (Wall Street Journal and Law.com, Aug 13)
- The White House stated its latest moratorium from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is targeted toward areas that have experienced substantial or high levels of Covid-19 transmission. (CDC news release and Wall Street Journal, Aug. 4). The extension would also allow more time for billions in rent relief appropriated by Congress to reach tenants and landlords. (Time, Aug. 3)
- Previously, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that an earlier CDC eviction ban could remain in effect through its expiration on July 31, yet indicated the federal agency had overstepped its authority. Justice Kavanaugh wrote in the high court’s 5-4 decision that another extension would require “clear and specific” legislation from Congress. (New York Times, June 29)
- When Congress could not muster last-minute support in late July to pass an extension, the CDC issued its latest moratorium on Aug. 3. (NBC News and Roundtable Weekly, July 30)
Impact on Housing Providers
- A coalition of 15 national real estate organizations – including The Real Estate Roundtable – sent a letter on July 29 to all members of Congress strongly opposing another moratorium extension. The joint letter called for policymakers to focus on disbursing billions in unspent sums of federal rental assistance appropriated in prior COVID-19 bills – instead of destabilizing rental markets with a legislative eviction moratorium. (Roundtable Weekly, July 30)
- A massive logjam in states’ disbursement of federal rental aid to tenants and housing providers has compounded the negative economic impact of the eviction moratorium. A National Rental Home Council survey issued in March showed that approximately 23 percent of small landlords leasing single-family rentals were forced to sell at least one, if not all of their properties.
- Politico also reported on Aug. 14 that nearly 59 percent of tenant households who are behind on rent live in properties with between one and four units – and that 72 percent of those properties are operated by mom-and-pop landlords.
The Realtors’ current attempt to end the moratorium, considered this week by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, is likely to be appealed to the Supreme Court next week.
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