• Micahel N. Bress, Esq.

FEDERAL JUDGE VOIDS CDC EVICTION MORATORIUM

Updated: May 17



On Wednesday, May 5, 2021 a Federal Court in Washington ruled that the Center for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) exceeded its legal authority when it imposed a nationwide moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent. The CDC Moratorium was originally imposed on September 4, 2020 and, after its latest extension, it was set to expire on June 30, 2021.


The ruling could expose millions of renters who are behind on their rent to being evicted much sooner than expected. This is as the number of Covid-19 cases has significantly declined, but not necessarily to a degree that a sudden increase in evictions might thwart the U.S. Government’s efforts to get the pandemic under control.


Judge Debney Freidrich, the Federal Court Judge who overturned the CDC Moratorium this Wednesday, did not go as far as imposing an injunction on the Moratorium. This, along with the unprecedented nature of such a moratorium, left many confused as to the effect of the Federal Court’s ruling. The U.S. Justice Department, however, immediately filed an appeal and sought an emergency order to put the ruling on hold, pending their appeal to a higher court.


In a late development on Wednesday, Judge Freidrich agreed to put her ruling on hold until May 12, 2021, in order to give landlords time to file briefs opposing a further delay, stating that the now delayed holding was not a reflection of the merits of the government’s appeal. Then, on Friday, May 15, Judge Friedrich granted an emergency stay, putting the order on hold, pending the Justice Department’s appeal.


No doubt, both landlords and tenants will be closely following any further developments, but if past is precedent, a great number of frustrated landlords will not wait for any further rulings before initiating an eviction action. A significant increase in eviction filings would further pile upon the already massive backlog of pending eviction actions.


These are difficult and confusing times for landlords and tenants alike. The status and future of evictions has been in a state of uncertainty for well over a year. If you have questions or require legal assistance, you can contact the Bress Law Firm, PLLC. Our information is below. If you cannot afford an attorney, you can seek the assistance of a local legal aid agency, to see if you qualify for assistance. Either way, an attorney will help you protect your rights and defend your interests in these confusing times.


At a minimum, tenants must follow the instructions of the CDC Declaration and landlords the instructions of applications for rental assistance precisely. In seeking assistance from the government, your claims to qualify for protection and-or assistance will be done so under penalty of perjury. Not following the instructions will only be detrimental to your interests. The process in place is to help assist both landlords and tenants. Retaining the assistance of an attorney can help you best negotiate that process.


Note: A separate eviction moratorium has been imposed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for Federally financed housing and is also set to expire on June 30, 2021.


May 12, 2021; Updated, May 15, 2021.


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