Late last week, U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich refused Alabama landlords’ request to walk back the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) eviction moratorium. Though she agreed the ban was illegal, Judge Friedrich said her “hands are tied” by an appellate decision made by the courts last spring.
Plaintiffs could challenge the policy with the D.C. Circuit and will likely appeal.
“The Administration believes that CDC’s new moratorium is a proper use of its lawful authority to protect the public health,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement on Friday. “We are pleased that the district court left the moratorium in place, though we are aware that further proceedings in this case are likely.”
While the old moratorium was nationwide. The current order covers only COVID hotspots until Oct. 3; however, Friedrich states this applies to “roughly 91% U.S. counties,” per the CDC’s COVID-19 data tracker.
The newly extended moratorium has been a controversial conversation, with several housing organizations coming together to form a coalition that opposes the new ban. The Alabama and Georgia chapters of the National Association of REALTORS® also filed a motion to exit the CDC ban.
The New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA) has submitted a petition with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit to rehear en banc the Brown, et al. v. CDC, et al. case challenging the CDC eviction moratorium. The organization alleges the court did not reach the statutory authority question, “instead deciding the case on the theory that NCLA’s clients did not demonstrate irreparable harm.”
Here’s what the industry is saying:
“No one, not even the President who oversees the CDC, thinks that the agency has the power to keep property owners from retaking possession of their own homes. Yet the Eleventh Circuit passed the buck because of the limited term of the moratorium. This hesitance only emboldened the agency and the President to extend the order yet again. The rule of law must prevail, and the Court must put a stop to the agency’s abuse of power.” — Caleb Kruckenberg, Litigation Counsel, NCLA
“The National Apartment Association (NAA) is disappointed in today’s decision by Judge Dabney Friedrich to allow the new U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) eviction order to remain in place.
“The CDC’s eviction moratorium is unlawful, plain and simple. The government must move past such tactics and instead address the tsunami of unpaid rental debt to ensure America’s 40 million renters have homes not only tomorrow, but next year and beyond.
“Instead of continuing bad public policy that makes the nation’s housing affordability challenges worse, we must develop a sustainable path forward that includes fully funded rental assistance under a streamlined distribution system. Together, we can keep Americans housed and preserve a stable rental housing infrastructure.” — Bob Pinnegar, President and CEO, NAA