A federal judge has struck down an eviction moratorium instituted last September by the CDC because of the coronavirus, saying that health organizations have no right to mandate a national moratorium.
The original moratorium was meant to keep people from having to stay in crowded facilities during a time when social distancing was seen as crucial to preventing the virus from spreading too rapidly and overwhelming health facilities like hospitals.
It was renewed by President Joe Biden in January and April 2021 and extended through June.
Federal Judge Dabney Friedrich struck down the ban Wednesday, saying that the language in the Public Health Service Act passed by Congress did not allow a national eviction ban. Friedrich was appointed by Former President Donald Trump.
Biden DOJ will appeal ruling
Biden’s DOJ has said it will appeal the jude’s ruling, and is seeking a stay that would keep the moratorium in effect while the appeal is heard.
Reports say that one in five renters in the U.S. are struggling to pay their rent as a result of the coronavirus, and that tens of thousands of families and individuals would end up on the streets if the ban were lifted. Corporate landlords have filed 56,000 eviction notices since September.
But landlords say they cannot afford to let tenants live rent free indefintitely; they have to pay mortgages and taxes on their properties. Furthermore, $45 billion in rent assistance has been given to states to help tenants stay current on rent.
Some states have ignored or not followed the moratorium as it was issued, but the DOJ has not penalized them so far.
Psaki says moratorium has kept evictions down
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said at her daily briefing Wednesday that the moratorium has kept evictions down since it was instituted.
“A recent study estimates that there were 1.55 million fewer evictions filed during 2020 than would be expected due to the eviction moratorium, so it clearly has had a huge benefit,” Psaki said.
The economy is rapidly rebounding from COVID-related shutdowns, so people still without employment should be able to get jobs soon.
Some labor shortages are being reported because of supplemental unemployment that makes it disadvantageous for some to work, which should also ease any issues with rent payment.