Federal Court Extends Stay on CDC Eviction Moratorium Ruling

The federal district court in Washington, DC decided on April 14 to extend a temporary stay on its May 5 ruling in Alabama Association of Realtors v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which held that the federal eviction moratorium issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was invalid. By extending the stay, the federal eviction moratorium will remain in effect while the case is appealed to a higher court.

In issuing its order, the judge held that ending the temporary stay and invalidating the eviction moratorium would result in irreparable harm by exacerbating significant public health risks during the pandemic, citing estimates by the CDC that suggest that lifting the moratorium would lead to an increase in COVID-19 cases and deaths. The federal government’s “weighty interest in protecting the public” outweighs the financial loss to landlords.

There are currently many conflicting rulings at the district court level, with several judges ruling in favor of the moratorium and others ruling against it. Several cases have been appealed to circuit courts for further review, but the issue has not yet been decided by a higher court. While the court’s ruling in Alabama Association of Realtors v. HHS states that the moratorium is invalidated nationwide, NLIHC believes it likely has limited application impacting only the plaintiffs who brought the case or, at most, renters in the district court’s jurisdiction.

The CDC moratorium has prevented millions of renters from being evicted from their homes during the pandemic. More than 8 million renters are currently behind on rent because of the economic crash that accompanied the pandemic. Congress responded to the pandemic and its economic fallout by providing $46 billion in emergency rental assistance to keep renters stably housed, and the federal eviction moratorium is critical to ensuring these resources reach America’s lowest-income and most marginalized households before they lose their homes and, in worst cases, are pushed into homelessness.

If the CDC eviction moratorium is vacated nationally, it could result in a historic wave of evictions, with tremendously harmful consequences to individuals, communities, and our nation’s public health. Evictions risk lives, push families deeper into poverty, and further strain our public health systems working to vaccinate as many people as possible to contain the virus. The impact would be felt immediately and for years to come, as evictions harm everything from physical and mental health to economic mobility. Because evictions predominantly harm people of color – disproportionately Black women – overturning the CDC moratorium could deepen and exacerbate racial disparities.

NLIHC continues to call on the Biden administration to vigorously defend and enforce the moratorium and to take every action to keep renters stably housed.

Read the May 14 decision to extend the stay at: https://tinyurl.com/dkyhyjft

Read the May 5th ruling in Alabama Association of Realtors v HHS at: https://tinyurl.com/3bbmrces