Sam Gendusa September 9, 2021

Newsletter - September 2021

It’s finally over.

The federal eviction moratorium — initially set to expire more than a year ago — was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court last month after a challenge from a coalition of landlords and real estate groups.

The ban, which was passed as part of the CARES Act in March 2020 to protect people who lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic, at first expired in July 2020.

But as the pandemic continued, the Centers for Disease Control introduced another federal eviction moratorium in September 2020. This new ban, which was set to expire in December 2020, finally ended — after several extensions — July 31, 2021.

After pressure from Democrats and housing advocates, the CDC under the Biden administration imposed the latest ban Aug. 3, but it was quickly blocked by the Supreme Court.

In its ruling, the court said the administration was arguing to give "a breathtaking amount of authority" to the CDC:

"It is hard to see what measures this interpretation would place outside the CDC’s reach,” the opinion reads. “Could the CDC, for example, mandate free grocery delivery to the homes of the sick or vulnerable? Require manufacturers to provide free computers to enable people to work from home? Order telecommunications companies to provide free high-speed Internet service to facilitate remote work?"

While the ruling comes as a relief, there’s still rough roads ahead: Some $15 billion is still owed in back rent, and Goldman Sachs predicts we’ll see 750,000 evictions by the end of the year. Meanwhile, only 11% of the more than $46 billion in federal rent relief made available since December has been distributed to state authorities.

“Neither landlords nor tenants should be in this precarious position,” Joel Zinberg wrote in National Review. “Disbursing the money would have made protecting tenants via a moratorium unnecessary. But repeatedly extending the federal moratorium removed any incentive that states had to act with dispatch.”

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