Landlords across the country, the least-pitied group of Americans, were handed a loss on Wednesday after a federal appeals court in Washington DC denied a request to resume evictions amid a contentious dispute over a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) moratorium during the pandemic.
To recap, last month US District Judge Dabney Friedrich struck down the CDC moratorium on evictions, finding that the agency had overstepped its authority – yet agreeing to block her own ruling from taking immediate affect in order for the Biden administration to launch an appeal, according to The Hill.
In response, the plaintiffs – which includes the Alabama Association of Realtors and several co-plaintiffs – asked the DC Circuit Court of Appeals to lift Freidrich’s stay, which was denied on Wednesday in an unsigned order. The court added that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) had “made a strong showing that it is likely to succeed” in its appeal.
“HHS has demonstrated that lifting the national moratorium will exacerbate the significant public health risks identified by the CDC because, even with increased vaccinations, COVID-19 continues to spread and infect persons, and new variants are emerging,” wrote the court.
Enacted in September as a public health measure, the CDC order was designed to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus by helping cash-strapped tenants avoid homeless shelters or other crowded living spaces. The eviction pause was later extended through June.
Renters can demonstrate their eligibility for CDC eviction protections by signing a sworn declaration under penalty of perjury, attesting that they would face overcrowded conditions if evicted and certifying that they have made partial rent payments to the best of their ability.
A number of other judges across the country have ruled on the eviction ban’s lawfulness, with landlords holding a slight advantage in their win-loss record against the federal government. -The Hill
Over 56,000 eviction actions have been filed since the pause took effect last September – almost half of which were filed this year according to a study by the Private Equity Stakeholder Project of seven states.