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Federal Judge Strikes Down CDC’s Ban on Evictions

(Updated with new information)

A federal judge on Wednesday ruled that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention didn’t have the authority to issue a moratorium on evictions across all rental properties. U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich ruled that the “plain language” of the Public Health Service Act, which governs federal response to the spread of communicable diseases such as COVID-19, blocked the CDC’s moratorium, originally issued last September.

Friedrich wrote, “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.”

Late Wednesday, Friedrich granted a temporary stay on the ruling in response to an emergency request by the Biden administration.

In a statement, the National Multifamily Housing Council said Wednesday that the industry has argued for the better part of a year that “a nationwide eviction moratorium was not the appropriate solution for keeping families safely and securely housed. While we initially supported a voluntary and short-term halt to evictions as an emergency measure at the beginning of the pandemic, circumstances have changed drastically.

“Nationwide, long-term eviction moratoriums only serve to place insurmountable levels of debt on households and jeopardize the stability of housing providers who have been damaged by revenue losses over the past year and who may be struggling to pay their mortgages, finance property operations and meet their own financial obligations,” according to NMHC.

Prior to Wednesday’s ruling, “ it was already clear that the current extension of the CDC’s eviction moratorium must be the last,” NMHC said in its statement. “NMHC encourages our members and all housing providers to continue to work hand-in-hand with their residents to keep families safely and securely housed and to take advantage of rental assistance funds.”

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About Paul Bubny

Paul Bubny serves as Senior Content Director for Connect Commercial Real Estate, a role to which he brings 13-plus years’ experience covering the commercial real estate industry and 30-plus years in business-to-business journalism. In this capacity, he oversees daily operations while also reporting on both local/regional markets and national trends, covering individual transactions across all property types as well as delving into broader subject matter. He produces 15-20 daily news stories per day and also works with the Connect team and clients to develop longer-form content, ranging from Q&As to thought-leadership pieces. Prior to joining Connect, Paul was Managing Editor for both Real Estate Forum and GlobeSt.com at American Lawyer Media, where he oversaw operations at both publications while also producing daily news and feature-length articles. His tenure in B2B publishing stretches back into the print era, and he has served as Editor in Chief on four national trade publications.

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