A Texas federal judge ruled that the CDC moratorium on evictions is unconstitutional. The moratorium was enacted after Congress authorized the CDC to take steps to stop the spread of communicable diseases. Many people were concerned that mass evictions would lead to homelessness for many individuals, and the homeless population is at high risk of contracting Coronavirus. However, federal judges in Texas and Ohio have ruled that the moratorium is unconstitutional, in a landmark win for landlords nationwide.
What is the Eviction Moratorium?
The CDC Eviction Moratorium temporarily halted evictions during the Coronavirus pandemic. This was an attempt to prevent mass evictions when many furloughed people lost their source of income amid business closures. People who were protected by the moratorium will still be held responsible for any outstanding rent, fees, and interest they accrue.
Who Does the Moratorium Protect?
The moratorium only protects people that meet certain criteria. First, tenants must provide an affidavit proving they can’t pay rent due to layoffs or medical expenses as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. They must also prove they applied for government rental assistance and were either denied or received an insufficient amount. Lastly, tenants must prove that they have no other living options, and would either be homeless or have to live with others in the event of an eviction.
Eviction Moratorium Declared Unconstitutional
Property owners across the United States have been campaigning for an end to the eviction moratorium since it was proposed. Tenants across the U.S. have fallen behind on bills due to mass layoffs, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Many landlords argued that the government prohibiting them from evicting tenants who fell behind on rent was unconstitutional.
People in opposition to the moratorium cited a few reasons why the CDC moratorium is unconstitutional. First, the CDC exceeded the scope of its authority by enforcing a nationwide moratorium. Second, the CDC essentially made a law, which constitutionally only Congress can do. Lastly, the CDC did not provide notice to affected parties, or give them the opportunity to comment before enforcing the new regulation.
Filing and Processing Evictions
The judge ruled against the moratorium but didn’t grant an injunction to stop it. Also, the Biden administration extended the CDC’s order through March 31st. However, after this date passes, the current moratorium essentially expires and becomes invalid. That means now is the time to start enforcing evictions or filing eviction cases. It’s likely that the CDC will appeal the court’s decision, so it’s important to talk to your attorney and move quickly.
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