Court strikes down eviction ban, but outcome unsettled

Tim Whitney

U.S. District Court Judge Dabney L. Friedrich of the District of Columbia recently struck down a nationwide eviction moratorium, deeming it unlawful. 

The U.S. Department of Justice appealed the ruling, however.

If the order is reversed, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) eviction moratorium could remain in place until at least the end of June with the possibility of extensions.

In her ruling, Friedrich stated: “It is the role of the political branches, 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 Georgia and Alabama associations of Realtors, two housing providers and their property management companies filed the lawsuit in defense of mom-and-pop property owners around the country struggling to pay bills without rental income for more than a year. 

In a lot of cases, property management companies also take a hit if their revenues are based on a percentage of rents collected. If no rents are collected, there are no property management fees.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) helped secure nearly $50 billion in federal rental assistance to help tenants pay their bills and provide relief to housing providers that have lost income.

NAR supported the lawsuit, though, contending the moratorium was no longer needed. 

“NAR has always maintained that the best solution for all parties was rental assistance to cover the rent, taxes and utility bills for tenants struggling during the pandemic,” said NAR President Charlie Oppler. “This decision prevents two crises – one for tenants and one for mom-and-pop housing providers who do not have a reprieve from their bills. With rental assistance secured, the economy growing and unemployment rates falling, there is no need to continue a nationwide eviction ban. With this safety net firmly in place, the market needs a return to normalcy and stability.”

Until the market does stabilize, this might help. According to the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) website, the state recently received $247 million for rental and utility assistance, and the Colorado Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) is set up for both property owners and tenants. 

Forms are available on the DOLA website located at