Eviction Moratorium Continues Despite Ruling

Regulation | March 01, 2021 | by Linda Couch

On February 25, a federal judge in Texas ruled that the federal moratorium on evictions is unconstitutional. The ruling does not include an injunction; the moratorium for evictions for nonpayment of rent remains in effect. However, the decision will bring additional confusion to renters and landlords alike on the issue.

On February 25, a federal judge in Texas ruled that the federal moratorium on evictions is unconstitutional. The ruling does not include an injunction; the moratorium for evictions for nonpayment of rent remains in effect. However, the decision will bring additional confusion to renters and landlords alike on the issue.

The CDC had imposed a national eviction moratorium in September 2020. In one of his first executive actions, President Biden extended the eviction moratorium until March 31.

Following the federal judge's ruling, the Department of Justice appealed the decision on February 27, and the legal process is expected to make months, with the eviction moratorium still in place in the meantime.

While the district court decision found the CDC eviction moratorium unconstitutional, the decision only impacted the plaintiffs in that particular case, Terkel v. CDC. “For other landlords who rent to covered persons, the CDC’s eviction moratorium remains in effect,” a DOJ statement said. “The CDC’s eviction moratorium, which Congress extended last December, protects many renters who cannot make their monthly payments due to job loss or health care expenses.  By preventing people from becoming homeless or having to move into more-crowded housing, the moratorium helps to slow the spread of COVID-19,” Brian M. Boynton, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Civil Division, said in the DOJ statement.

The COVID-19 relief package proposed by President Biden and under consideration in Congress, for potential passage before March 15, at one point would have extended the eviction moratorium until September 30, 2021. However, the provision was removed because it was not found to have a federal budgetary impact and thus did not comply with the arcane rules of the budget reconciliation process, which Congress is using to pass the package.