The Supremes have spoken: the federal eviction moratorium is no longer enforceable.

After months of working its way through lower courts and surviving a prior Supreme Court challenge in June 2020, the federal eviction moratorium has met its final end. In a divided decision, the highest court in the land rejected the moratorium imposed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), asserting the CDC does not have the authority to issue such sweeping orders.

In its prevailing opinion, the Court acknowledges the moratorium is in “the public interest” to slow the spread of COVID-19. But since the governing system is not designed to allow the CDC such broad authority, the Court will step in to end the moratorium.

If the U.S. eviction moratorium is ever to be reinstated, it will need to be under congressional orders, or otherwise be mandated at the state level.

This is the conclusion to the saga first introduced by state subsidiaries of the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) at the end of 2020. Representing their membership, NAR claims the eviction moratorium has cost landlords billions of dollars due to lost rents, ultimately more important to their membership than the need to keep individuals housed while the pandemic continues to rage.

California’s moratorium to continue

Here in California, an eviction moratorium remains in place through September 30, 2021.

California’s eviction moratorium prohibits landlords from evicting tenants under COVID-19-related financial distress for the nonpayment of rent.

14% of California renters were behind on their rent as August 2021, according to the U.S. Census. Meanwhile, California is still missing roughly 1.2 million jobs from the pre-recession peak as of July 2021. Until these jobs are regained, the end of these moratoriums will result in a devastating rise in rental vacancies.

Landlords seeking relief from nonpaying tenants — and tenants seeking help paying back missed rents — may apply for the Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program.

Related article:

Landlords, tenants in the dark about Emergency Rental Assistance

To apply, landlords and tenants may visit:

Landlords are eligible to receive assistance when:

  • the tenant’s household is income eligible(the state will calculate this when the tenant applies);
  • all payments received need to be used to satisfy the tenant’s unpaid rent beginning from April 1, 2020; and
  • the tenant needs to verify they meet eligibility requirements and sign the application.

The state will send the tenant a notification for the tenant to complete these tasks. Without the tenant’s cooperation to complete the application, the landlord may take steps to evict the tenant beginning October 1, 2021. [Calif. Code of Civil Procedures §1179.11]

For more details on the state’s moratorium under California’s Rental Housing Recovery Act, see this firsttuesday article.