The nationwide eviction ban imposed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the “CDC”) was vacated following a sweeping ruling issued by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia earlier this week. In its opinion, the Court determined that the CDC’s reliance on the Public Health Service Act did not confer legal authority to the CDC to impose a nationwide eviction ban.
Additionally, the Court concluded that even though Congress acknowledged that the CDC relied on the Public Health Service Act to enforce the ban, Congress never clearly granted additional statutory authority to the CDC or approved of the agency’s interpretation.
Though the Court’s decision does not affect any state moratoria on evictions, it does have significant ramifications for the federal government’s renewed efforts to ramp up enforcement and compliance among landlords, especially as state governments begin to rescind and modify COVID-19 restrictions. The nationwide eviction ban, first put in place by the Trump administration, was recently extended until June 30. Just this past Monday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued an interim final rule requiring debt collectors and landlords’ attorneys to issue “clear and conspicuous” written notices to tenants of their rights to eviction protection under the CDC’s ban.
The Court’s ruling is likely not final. The United States Department of Justice Civil Division announced that it already filed a notice of appeal of the decision seeking an emergency stay of the order pending appeal. Kaufman & Canoles will continue to monitor the situation.