Covid-19 – End of CDC Moratorium on Residential Evictions

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On Wednesday, May 5, 2021, a federal judge struck down the nationwide moratorium on residential evictions put into place by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the “CDC”) that had been in effect since September 4, 2020, and which was extended through June 30, 2021 by President Biden on his first day of office.

The CDC had imposed the eviction moratorium, known as the “Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions To Prevent the Further Spread of COVID-19,” to prevent landlords from evicting residential tenants amidst a nationwide public health disaster and state of emergency as millions of Americans lost their jobs in 2020 and 2021 due to the extraordinary effect that the COVID-19 pandemic had on businesses of all sizes across the country.

In her ruling on Alabama Association of Realtors, et al. v. United States Department of Health and Human Services, et al., No. 20-cv-3377 DLF (D.D.C. May 5, 2021), U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ordered that the CDC exceeded its authority in issuing the eviction moratorium in a twenty-page opinion on Wednesday (5/5) afternoon. Judge Friedrich’s full Memorandum Opinion can be accessed by clicking the following link:

As Judge Friedrich has stated in page 19 of the Court’s Memorandum Opinion, “[t]he Court recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious public health crisis that has presented unprecedented challenges for public health officials and the nation as a whole. The pandemic has triggered difficult policy decisions that have had enormous real-world consequences. The nationwide eviction moratorium is one such decision. It is the role of the political branches, and not the courts, to assess the merits of policy measures designed to combat the spread of disease, even during a global pandemic. The question for the Court is a narrow one: Does the Public Health Service Act grant the CDC the legal authority to impose a nationwide eviction moratorium? It does not.”

The CDC’s eviction moratorium was initially set to expire at the end of 2020 but was extended to allow the U.S. Treasury Department more time to roll out approximately $47 billion in federal relief to state and local governments to assist residential tenants in covering past due rental balances and utility bills. The owners of residential properties have argued that they have borne the burden of indefinitely housing many tenants who were not current in their rental payments even prior to the onset of the pandemic.

Ultimately, this ruling means that residential landlords and property owners who have been unable to evict delinquent tenants due to the CDC’s moratorium are now free to evict such tenants, provided there are no state or local moratoriums in effect in the jurisdiction where the rental property in question is located. Property owners should be very careful to check with state and local governmental authorities to determine whether their property is subject to any state or local moratorium on evictions.

For example, state-level moratoriums on evictions remain in effect in New York (extended through August 31, 2021) and North Carolina (extended through June 30, 2021), whereas state-level moratoriums on evictions have expired in Massachusetts and Florida, and no state-level moratorium ever went into effect in South Carolina. Rhode Island had no state-level moratorium on evictions in effect during the pandemic, but did follow the CDC’s moratorium – and Rhode Island state courts refused to issue the court order [writ of execution] necessary to actually evict a tenant from leased premises while the CDC moratorium was in effect.

Additionally, landlords and owners of residential properties should consult with a trusted attorney in their area to determine whether they can proceed with an eviction – and to assist them in navigating the complicated eviction process.


This alert should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. This alert is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, a lawyer-client relationship. The contents are intended for general informational purposes only, and you are urged to consult your attorney concerning any particular situation and any specific legal question you may have. We are working diligently to remain well informed and up to date on information and advisements as they become available. As such, please reach out to us if you need help addressing any of the issues discussed in this alert, or any other issues or concerns you may have relating to your business. We are ready to help guide you through these challenging times.