Time to Focus on Rental Assistance
The U.S. Supreme Court ended the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC’s) eviction moratorium Thursday night, giving much-needed relief to America’s small housing providers facing financial hardship for more than a year.
In a 6-3 ruling, a majority of justices agreed that the stay on the lower court’s order finding the CDC’s eviction moratorium to be unlawful was no longer justified.
In their order, the justices wrote, “The moratorium has put the applicants, along with millions of landlords across the country, at risk of irreparable harm by depriving them of rent payments with no guarantee of eventual recovery. Despite the CDC’s determination that landlords should bear a significant financial cost of the pandemic, many landlords have modest means.”
The case was brought by the Georgia and Alabama Associations of REALTORS® and other property providers, with NAR’s help.
In May of this year, U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich for the District of Columbia had struck down the ban as unlawful, but she stayed her ruling pending appeal. The case wound up twice before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and Supreme Court.
In a statement, NAR said of the ruling:
“This decision is the correct one, from both a legal standpoint and a matter of fairness. It brings to an end an unlawful policy that places financial hardship solely on the shoulders of mom-and-pop housing providers, who provide nearly half of all rental housing in America, and it restores property rights in America.
“No housing provider wants to evict a tenant—it is always a last resort and reserved for the rarest cases. The best solution for all parties is rental assistance, and all energy should go toward its swift distribution. Nearly $50 billion of aid is now available to cover up to a year-and-a-half of combined back and future rent and utilities for struggling tenants—and every state has started a program to distribute the funds.
“With this rental assistance, now is the time to return the housing sector to its former, healthy function. NAR is thankful for the Biden administration’s new guidance to speed up rental assistance distribution, which includes many NAR recommendations. We will continue to work with all parties to make that assistance readily accessible to tenants and housing providers.”
NAR cautions housing providers that some state and local governments may still have their own eviction moratoria in place. (See more here.)
Stayed tuned to NAR for the latest analysis on this finding.