The Biden Administration Defends Latest CDC Eviction Ban
The U.S. Department of Justice on Friday urged a Federal court to keep the Biden administration’s new eviction moratorium in place to help protect Americans from becoming homeless in light of a resurgence of COVID-19. In the Justice Department’s response to the latest lawsuit brought by the Alabama and Georgia chapters of the National Association of Realtors who have asserted that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lacked the power to impose the ban.
The real estate groups have referred to a June U.S. Supreme Court decision that revealed a majority of Supreme Court justices did not believe the CDC had the legal authority to impose what was then a nationwide eviction moratorium. Biden let the original ban lapse last Saturday, citing the same concerns. But following intense political pressure the CDC on Tuesday revived a more targeted version focused on counties with higher levels of COVID-19, which imposes the ban on more than 80% of U.S. counties.
In justifying the new ban after the Supreme Court warning signs, government lawyers retorted that “the trajectory of the pandemic has changed dramatically as a result of the highly contagious Delta variant.” The Justice Department also said that any financial harm housing industry groups may face from the ban “is outweighed by the risk of illness and mortality if the moratorium targeting areas of high or substantial transmission is unnecessarily lifted at this moment when new cases are rapidly increasing due to the highly contagious Delta variant.”
The CDC issued its latest order to temporarily halt evictions in counties with heightened levels of community transmission of COVID-19 in order to respond to recent, unexpected developments in the trajectory of the -19 pandemic, including the rise of the Delta variant. According to the CDC, the latest order is intended to target specific areas of the country where cases are rapidly increasing, which likely would be exacerbated by mass evictions.
California had previously extended its eviction ban through September 30, 2021, and purportedly has designated $5.4 billion toward rental debt relief, but such funds have not materialized for the majority of rental property owners.
In order to read the latest CDC order, go to: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/communication/Signed-CDC-Eviction-Order.pdf