Capitol Correspondence - 05.11.21

Judge Throws Out Nationwide Eviction Moratorium, Biden Administration Appeals

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People with disabilities face greater challenges obtaining income and housing than the general population, making them particularly vulnerable to eviction during the pandemic. We share this article by the Washington Post to inform our members’ efforts to support individuals with intellectual / developmental disabilities in the community, including finding housing assistance. We also note that this ruling only affects the nationwide eviction moratorium; it does not affect state and local moratoria.

“A federal judge in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday ruled that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention overstepped its legal authority by issuing a nationwide eviction moratorium, a ruling that could affect millions of struggling Americans.

In a 20-page order, U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich vacated the CDC order, first put in place during the coronavirus pandemic under the Trump administration and now set to expire June 30.

‘It is the role of the political branches, and not the courts, to assess the merits of policy measures designed to combat the spread of disease, even during a global pandemic,’ the order states. ‘The question for the Court is a narrow one: Does the Public Health Service Act grant the CDC the legal authority to impose a nationwide eviction moratorium? It does not.’

The Biden administration has indicated it will appeal the decision. The ruling does not affect state or local eviction moratoriums. In Washington, D.C., for example, the city government’s ban on all evictions remains in place.

Landlords and property owners have consistently challenged the CDC order, arguing the policy sets an undue financial burden on business owners.


Housing advocates, however, argued the new ruling only throws more confusion into an already chaotic policy space. Despite the moratorium, evictions have continued because of loopholes and differing legal interpretations.

After Wednesday’s decision, tenants’ rights advocates called for the Biden administration not only to defend the policy but to step up legal protections that will keep people in their homes. According to the Census Bureau, 1 out of 7 renters recently reported they were behind on payments.”

Additional reading: We recommend that members who advocate on housing issues share this brief on how to establish emergency rental assistance programs with their state and local officials. We also flag a free course by ADvancing States on building relationships with housing authorities; the course is listed in the featured courses bar at the top of the linked page, but you will need to create an account to access it.