- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 3, 2021

A federal appellate court ruled Wednesday that the Biden administration can continue a moratorium on evictions put into place because of the coronavirus pandemic while a case challenging its constitutionality is pending.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit affirmed a lower court ruling. The district court judge had ruled in favor of landlords seeking to end the ban on evictions but allowed the moratorium to continue as the case is appealed.

The D.C. Circuit allowed the lawsuit to proceed but kept landlords from evicting non-paying tenants.

“The moratorium was tailored to the necessity that prompted it,” wrote the three-judge panel, consisting of all Obama appointees. “[The Department of Health and Human Services] carefully targeted it to the subset of evictions it determined to be necessary to curb the spread of the deadly and quickly spreading Covid-19 pandemic.”

The eviction moratorium bans landlords from evicting tenants while the order is enforced, so landlords are unable to remove a renter who can’t pay rent.



The moratorium was first issued in September under former President Trump, but the government has continued to renew it during the following eight months, even after COVID-19 vaccines have been widely distributed.

Lawyers for the landlords said the latest extension will lapse at the end of June, but they fear that won’t happen and the government will renew it again.

Property owners across the country, including struggling mom-and-pop operators, are asking the nation’s courts why landlords are expected to take a financial hit while non-paying tenants are protected by eviction moratoriums.

Lawsuits challenging the government’s eviction moratorium are piling up, with some district courts delivering wins for the landlords while others have ruled for the government.

Recently, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit invalidated the government’s moratorium but did not issue a nationwide injunction.

A lawyer representing the landlords before the D.C. Circuit did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Devin Watkins, an attorney with the Competitive Enterprise Institute, said the challenge must go to the Supreme Court.

“Three Obama-appointed judges on the D.C. Circuit, in direct conflict with the 6th Circuit and the D.C. District Court, tentatively accepted the validity of the eviction moratorium issued by the CDC for the duration of the appeals process. The direct conflict between the courts means the Supreme Court should ultimately decide this issue,” Mr. Watkins said.

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