Latest CDC evictions ban was lifted by the US Supreme Court last week.  Hundreds of thousands of tenants at risk of eviction.

Latest CDC Evictions Ban Scrapped Last Week

From going to court to lifting the latest CDC evictions moratorium, the US Supreme Court last week banned evictions protections for tenants who have fallen behind on their rent payments during the pandemic.

Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda

If, as with a past CDC moratorium, the US Congress had authorized this extended ban on evictions per Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s request at that time, chances are that this decision might have gone another way.

However, Congress didn’t act.  President Biden, in turn, issued a new, slightly narrower evictions ban to protect tenants in counties “with substantial or high rates of community transmission” of the coronavirus now surging in more than 95% of the country.  The Court ruled that the CDC and Biden had “overstepped” constitutional bounds.

Biden, at the time of issuing the revised moratorium, indicated that he thought the legal odds were long that the Supreme Court would uphold this narrower moratorium.

So what motivated the President to pursue the action?  Biden thought this revised plan was “worth pursuing” if only to “buy a little time” for local governments to distribute the more than $45B in rental assistance Congress had already granted.

Distribution Time of Rental Assistance Funds Remains Too S-L-O-W

Of that $45B in rental assistance that would go to landlords via tenant applications and approvals, only $5.1B of the $46.5B has thus far been distributed by state and local entities.

On August 30, in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling, the US Treasury Department issued new and simplified requirements for tenant applications in hopes of speeding up the rental assistance distribution.

We’ll see if state and local entities charged with distributing this rental assistance are up to it even with these less restrictive guidelines.

US Supreme Court Backs Landlords’ Position

Landlords have said all along that eviction moratoria have saddled them with enormous debt during the pandemic.  Without any rental income from at-risk tenants who have been unable to pay their rents due to being hard-hit by the COVID pandemic and without any authorized rental assistance actually coming to them, landlords have been hanging on by their fingertips.

Bob Pinnegar, president of the National Apartment Association, said, “…the nation’s debt tsumani…is crippling both renters and housing providers alike.”

The Court’s majority opinion, 6-3, read, “It is indisputable that the public has a strong interest in combating the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant…but our system does not permit agencies (specifically the CDC in this case) to act unlawfully even in the pursuit of desirable ends”

Forcefully, the Court’s decision read, “If a federally imposed eviction moratorium is to continue, Congress must specifically authorize it.”

Thanks to National Mortgage News and The New York Times.









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