Supreme Court upholds CDC Eviction Moratorium, but the end is in sight.
In response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Center for Disease Control (“CDC”) ordered a nationwide moratorium on residential evictions with the latest extension through July 31, 2021. The CDC has also announced that this will be the final extension of the moratorium. Since its inception, however, the moratorium has been the subject of numerous lawsuits with courts from across the country ruling on its constitutionality. Now, after much discussion, the Supreme Court has weighed in on the matter.
Eviction Moratorium Lawsuit
In the District of Columbia, an assortment of property owners and realtor trade associations filed suit against the CDC challenging the moratorium. In Alabama Assn. of Realtors v United States Dept of Health and Human Services, No. 1:20-cv-003377 (D.D.C. May 5, 2021), the District Court ruled that while CDC has comprehensive rulemaking powers, the moratorium on residential evictions surpassed its authority. In response, the CDC requested that the decision be stayed to allow time for them to appeal, which was granted by the District Court. This ruling was appealed by the Alabama Association of Realtors and eventually made its way to the United States Supreme Court.
U.S. Supreme Court Upholds CDC Eviction Moratorium, but the End is in Sight
In a narrow 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court left the eviction moratorium in place. Chief Justice Roberts along with Justices Breyer, Kagan, Sotomayor, and Kavanaugh voted to deny lifting the moratorium. In a separate concurrence, Justice Kavanaugh wrote that while the District Court was correct that the CDC had exceeded its existing statutory authority, the Court should not lift the eviction moratorium given the pending expiration of the moratorium on July 31, 2021. By allowing the moratorium to remain in place until then, “those few weeks will allow for additional and more orderly distribution of the congressionally appropriated rental assistance funds.” He went on to write that any further extension of the eviction moratorium would require, “clear and specific congressional authorization.” Justices Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, and Barrett would have granted the application to vacate the stay and have the order invalidated nationwide immediately.
Justice Kavanaugh in his concurrence was influenced by the CDC announcing that the moratorium will not be extended further. With the CDC not inclined to impose any further extensions, July 31, 2021, marks the end of the much-litigated nationwide eviction moratorium. As such, Landlords will be allowed to proceed with their evictions nationwide unless further prohibited by state restrictions.
Current State of Evictions in New York
While the CDC nationwide moratorium is ending soon, the state legislature in New York has added additional roadblocks for landlords. On May 4, 2021, Governor Cuomo extended the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2020. This extension acts to prolong the moratorium on residential and commercial evictions until August 31, 2021 for tenants who have suffered a COVID-related hardship. It is unknown at this time if a further extension will be passed by the State.
Have Questions About the Eviction Moratorium in New York?
Clair Gjertsen & Weathers PLLC continues to monitor this ever-changing landscape. For additional questions regarding the implications of these decisions and related landlord/tenant issues, we invite you to contact Clair Gjertsen & Weathers PLLC by calling 914-472-6202. We look forward to hearing from you.