One judge ruled to end the eviction moratorium, but an appeals court refused to make any changes right away. Landlords now want the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in.
WASHINGTON – A lawyer representing landlords and housing providers asked the Supreme Court on Thursday to halt the Biden administration’s moratorium on evictions, which was put into place because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The request comes after a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on Wednesday declined to stop the moratorium while a case challenging its constitutionality is pending.
“Landlords have been losing over $13 billion every month under the moratorium, and the total effect of the CDC’s overreach may reach up to $200 billion if it remains in effect for a year,” states the landlords’ request to Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.
The landlords won in the district court in the District of Columbia, but the judge paused the ruling while it was appealed, leaving the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) eviction moratorium intact – for now.
The appeals court affirmed that move this week, allowing the lawsuit to proceed but kept landlords from evicting non-paying tenants.
“The moratorium was tailored to the necessity that prompted it,” wrote the three-judge panel. “[The Department of Health and Human Services] carefully targeted it to the subset of evictions it determined to be necessary to curb the spread of the deadly and quickly spreading COVID-19 pandemic.”
The landlords hope the Supreme Court will reverse that move.
“The stay order cannot stand. As both the Sixth Circuit and the district court here recognized, Congress never gave the CDC the staggering amount of power it now claims,” the landlord’s court filing states. The moratorium bans landlords from evicting tenants while the order is enforced, so landlords are unable to remove a renter who can’t pay rent.
The CDC first issued the moratorium in September under former President Trump, but the government has continued to renew it, even after vaccines have been widely distributed.
Lawyers for the landlords said they fear that the government will renew the moratorium again instead of letting it lapse at the end of June as scheduled.
Lawsuits challenging the government’s eviction moratorium are piling up, as property owners, including struggling mom-and-pop operators, ask the courts why they are expected to take a financial hit while non-paying tenants are protected by the moratoriums.
Some district courts have delivered wins for the landlords, while others have ruled for the government. Recently, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals invalidated the government’s moratorium but did not issue a nationwide injunction.
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