A federal judge on Wednesday vacated a nationwide freeze on evictions that was put in place by federal health officials to help cash-strapped renters remain in their homes during the pandemic.
In a 20-page ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich ruled that the agency exceeded its authority with the temporary ban.
“The question for the court is a narrow one: Does the Public Health Service Act grant the C.D.C. the legal authority to impose a nationwide eviction moratorium?” wrote Friedrich, a one-time staff member to former Senator Orrin Hatch and was appointed to the court in 2017. “It does not.”
The CARES Act, passed in March 2020, included a 120-day moratorium on evictions from rental properties participating in federal assistance programs or underwritten by federal loans. This moratorium, which had been extended, was scheduled to end on June 30. It is unclear what will happen now.
While federal and local eviction moratoriums have helped keep people in their homes during the pandemic, back rent continued to pile up. The nation’s renters owed an estimated $57 billion in back rent in January, according to a Moody’s Analytics report.
Congress included $25 billion for rental assistance in its December stimulus package and provided another $27 billion in the American Rescue Plan Act that passed in March.
Stay tuned for additional developments. Our experienced team of real estate attorneys can help you understand your rights whether you are a landlord or tenant.