U.S. District Court Judge Leaves CDC Eviction Moratorium in Place

U.S. District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich on August 13 denied a request from the Alabama and Georgia Associations of Realtors to rule the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) eviction moratorium illegal, saying her “hands are tied” by an appellate court ruling maintaining a stay on the previous CDC eviction moratorium. The decision is already being appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals and may end up back in the U.S. Supreme Court soon.

In late June, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 vote to allow the original CDC eviction moratorium to remain in place. Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who voted with the majority, said that he was voting to allow the moratorium to continue only because it was set to expire at the end of July and an extension was needed for the “orderly distribution of emergency rental assistance.” He said that he would reject any further extension without clear authorization from Congress. An effort in Congress to pass legislation authorizing the moratorium failed at the end of July, however, and the CDC issued on August 3 a new, more limited moratorium in areas with substantial or high COVID-19 transmission rates, covering about 80% of U.S. counties and 90% of renters through October 3.

The CDC moratorium is an essential public health measure, protecting millions of renters from eviction and possible homelessness during a surge in the COVID-19 Delta variant around the country, and gives more time for renters to access emergency rental assistance.