Supreme Court strikes down part of New York eviction ban

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday ruled to strike down part of New York state’s eviction moratorium because there is not a method for landlords to challenge tenants who claim that they are experiencing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Breitbart reports. 

The eviction ban allowed self-certification of tenants concerning their hardship status, which the high court said violated a principle that doesn’t allow people to be a judge of their own case.

“This scheme violates the court’s longstanding teaching that ordinarily ‘no man can be a judge in his own case,” the unsigned SCOTUS order stated.

The court’s six conservative justices supported the order, which includes Chief Justice John Roberts, and Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett. The liberal wing of the high court, including Justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor, dissented.

Moratorium expires soon

The case was brought by five landlords and one association representing a group of landlords against the ban on evicting self-certified tenants.

The remainder of the ban was not challenged by the landlords and will be allowed to stand, although it is set to expire at the end of August.

A national moratorium put in place by President Joe Biden’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), after a previous ban from 2020 expired, has so far survived a challenge with a ruling by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals allowing it to stand, but the new rule is likely to end up at the Supreme Court as well.

The previous moratorium was ruled unconstitutional but was allowed to expire on July 31 without being removed.

Biden’s moratorium under fire

Intense pressure from progressives from within the Democratic Party seemingly led Biden to reinstitute the moratorium using a different statute in an attempt to avoid millions of renters being suddenly faced with paying owed back rent or being evicted.

Much of a $46 billion government fund meant to provide funds to landlords and tenants had not been used during the moratorium, and tenants were also given several stimulus checks to help with expenses such as rent.

CNBC reported that the rental assistance program could be hard to access on a smartphone and that many tenants are unaware that they are eligible for the program. Tenants can get payments for up to 12 months’ worth of back rent from the government program, as well as 12 months’ assistance with utility bills.

A better implementation of the program could help landlords who are being forced to either pay mortgages on rental properties out of their own pockets or sell the properties if they cannot pay, and it’s imperative that it happens sooner than later.

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