For the second time in four weeks, the federal eviction ban has come to an end, protecting millions of struggling renters while frustrating landlords across the country.
The Supreme Court overturned the latest eviction moratorium on Thursday, writing in an eight-page unsigned opinion: “Congress was on notice that a further extension would almost surely require new legislation, yet it failed to act in the several weeks leading up to the moratorium’s expiration.”
The legal, financial, and emotional back-and-forth over what landlords can do in terms of evictions and what renters can expect when their income is lost due to the pandemic has been tense for both groups. Landlords are hailing the end of federal protection as a victory, while housing advocates are calling it a “tragic” and “unavoidable” outcome.
The eviction ban was imposed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in September to prevent the spread of coronavirus. When it expired at the end of July, housing advocates and members of Congress expressed concern that lifting the ban before the bulk of the federal government’s $46 billion in emergency rental assistance was distributed would defeat the purpose of the moratorium.
The CDC issued a new eviction ban on August 3 that covered areas where Covid infection rates are high, protecting about 90% of renters.
Landlords and real estate companies challenged the new moratorium in court, resulting in the Supreme Court’s decision on Thursday.
More than 3 million renters said they will likely have to leave their home due to eviction in the next two months in a US Census Bureau survey conducted in early August.
“The federal eviction moratorium was a lifeline for millions of families, the last remaining federal protection keeping them safely and stably housed throughout the pandemic,” said Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “The tragic, consequential, and entirely avoidable outcome of this ruling will be millions of people losing their homes this fall and winter, just as the Delta variant ravages communities and lives.”