September 24, 2021

Federal court strikes down CDC’s eviction moratorium

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Friday that The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was unlawful when they placed a hold on tenant elections last year, according to The Washington Times.

The Cincinnati-based court upheld a decision by a lower court which ruled that the government agency was overstepping their jurisdiction when they put the moratorium in place to protect tenants. 

This case was particularly time sensitive since the grace period is set to expire in July after first being enacted in September of 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the case of the previous order, landlords are prohibited from electing tenants who are behind on rent while the order is in place. The three-judge panel on the Ohio court decided that wasn’t up to the CDC.

While arguing the case, the government made the point that a statute is in place which allows the secretary of health and human services “to take ‘other measures’ he deems necessary to stop the spread of disease — [including] measures that are similar to inspection, fumigation, destruction of animals and the like.”

The judges, however, found that “an eviction moratorium does not fit that mold.”

“What’s more, even if we construed the phrase ‘other measures’ more expansively, we cannot read [the statute] to grant the CDC the power to insert itself into the landlord-tenant relationship without clear textual evidence of Congress’ intent to do so,” the 13-page ruling states.

This ruling, combined with a Supreme Court ruling last month that stated the CDC would need congressional authority to extend the moratorium will likely have the Biden administration searching desperately with how to keep the estimated nearly 3.2 million people nationwide who are in danger of eviction.

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