Federal Judge Overturns Moratorium On Renter Evictions


A federal judge overturned the national moratorium on evictions for renters on Wednesday (May 5) which was imposed last year to prevent millions of Americans from losing their homes during the coronavirus pandemic

The decision comes after property owners and realtors challenged the CDC’s eviction freeze that was extended under President Joe Biden’s administration. According to The New York Times, the US Justice Department has already filed an appeal.  

“The question for the Court is a narrow one: Does the Public Health Service Act grant the CDC the legal authority to impose a nationwide eviction moratorium? It does not,” US District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich wrote in a 20-page ruling

In other rulings about eviction freezes during the pandemic, the judge limited their ruling to only the tenants listed in the case. This time, Friedrich says the ruling can have a national scope because of previous court rulings that set precedent for her decision. 

The DOJ requested an emergency stay on the order pending the outcome of the appeal. Friedrich agreed to put her ruling on hold until May 12 in order to give property owners time to file documents opposing a long delay in the matter. She made it clear that her decision to wait on the ruling wasn’t because of the DOJ’s request, though.

What Does This Mean for Renters?

According to The Times, what this ruling means for renters isn’t quite clear yet. Given the appeals process and that state and local judges –– the ones who actually oversee evictions –– aren’t bound to Friedrich’s ruling, what will happen to millions of families who face eviction is uncertain. 

Adding to the confusion about Friedrich’s ruling is that two other, separate federal courts have already upheld the eviction freeze.

Housing Resources for Renters

Some cities and states launched renters assistance programs to help individuals pay rent and utilities. Here are a few organizations helping renters understand their rights, and providing resources.

National Housing Law Project

National Low Income Housing Coalition

For more information about renters assistance programs, click here.

Photo: Getty Images


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