A federal judge decided to let the eviction moratorium imposed by Joe Biden’s administration, arguing that she did not have the authority to block the moratorium’s extension despite questions about its legality.
U.S. District of Columbia District Judge Dabney Friedrich said her decision was conditioned by earlier appeals imposed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In her ruling on Friday, the judge again clarified on the numerous legal problems with the new CDC-imposed eviction moratorium, however, stating that the “court’s hands are tied.” Friedrich had already determined in May that the previous moratorium was illegal, as it exceeded the CDC’s powers, but the judge’s order was never carried out.
While the eviction moratorium has protected millions of people during the coronavirus pandemic, it has put thousands of tenants in financial hardship who have been unable to collect lease payments. According to census data, rent collection is the primary source of income for up to more than 10 million Americans.
Some analysts expect that once the moratorium is lifted, thousands of evictions and foreclosures will be executed across the country by hundreds of thousands of tenants unable to pay their rents and, consequently, as many homeowners unable to pay their mortgages.
Although the Biden administration had decided to end the moratorium in July, Democratic Party progressives camped out in front of the Capitol in protest of the moratorium and the White House eventually relented.
Following the extension of the eviction moratorium through October, a group of landlords and realtors objected to the legality of the CDC’s ban. This Friday, the plaintiffs demanded a speedy resolution of their case.
“We plan to go back in the short term to the D.C. Circuit Court and from there to the Supreme Court if necessary,” said a spokesman for the National Association of Realtors.
Although the Biden administration has said it has a separate $47 billion budget to address lease payments, only 6.5 % of this budget has reached the hands of tenants or landlords.
Biden said that while the moratorium did not have the legal standing to stand, it was worth taking on the litigation, as it would give his administration time to distribute the assistance money that remains unallocated.
In June the Supreme Court voted to extend the eviction moratorium and opted to let it stand on a 5-4 vote, favoring its extension. Despite the decision, Judge Brett Kavanaugh said the Court would not look favorably on yet another extension.