Revised Eviction Moratorium Struck Down By SCOTUS

A legal challenge has struck down the Biden Administration’s most recent effort, through the CDC, to stave off tenant evictions – with a 6-3 SCOTUS ruling that legislation is needed to continue such a program.

In a widely expected outcome, the United Stated Supreme Court has struck down the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s most recent attempt to create affirmative defenses for tenants, as a measure to effectively create an “eviction moratorium.” The decision may leave many renters, including many in Maryland, at risk of facing eviction proceedings.

From coverage on The Hill:

Some 15 million people are currently behind on rent in the U.S., according to one recent estimate, though it was not immediately clear how many tenants could be placed at greater risk of eviction as a result of the court’s move. A patchwork of state and local eviction freezes were unaffected by Thursday’s ruling.

The latest legal wrangling over the eviction freeze marks the second time the Supreme Court has addressed the measure in recent months.

Further coverage of the decision from the Associated Press website:

The court said in an unsigned opinion Thursday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which reimposed the moratorium Aug. 3, lacked the authority to do so under federal law without explicit congressional authorization. The justices rejected the administration’s arguments in support of the CDC’s authority.

“If a federally imposed eviction moratorium is to continue, Congress must specifically authorize it,” the court wrote.

For more background on the matter as it affects Maryland, see prior Conduit Street coverage:

Pending Evictions in Maryland: Where Are We Now?

New CDC Order Halts Evictions in Communities with Substantial or High Levels of Community Transmission

Since the time of those earlier articles, the Maryland’s own State-level protections for renters have also elapsed, as the Statewide emergency declaration has fully phased out.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties