by Brandon Jarvis

The plaintiffs in Alabama Association of Realtors v. HHS are appealing to the Supreme Court after a lower appeals court ruled that they would not put a stay on the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) nationwide eviction moratorium. In response, a coalition of attorney’s general from 23 states including Virginia’s Mark Herring filed an amicus brief with the high court in an effort to protect the moratorium that is intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

The process reached this point after a district court judge ruled that the CDC does not have the authority to issue a nationwide ban on evictions, but he did not put an end to the ban at the time in order to allow the case to go through the appeals process. The case is now on emergency application to the Supreme Court

The moratorium was originally set to expire on December 31, but the CDC has extended it multiple times and it is now scheduled to end June 30.

The moratorium has been a tool in containing the spread of COVID-19 by preventing evictions in certain residences across the nation if the tenant isn’t able to pay full rent because of a loss of income or medical expenses. When the CARES Act expired in July of last year, the CDC imposed this eviction moratorium, which was continued by the Biden Administration and applies to all residential properties nationwide.

“While we have slowly started to get back to normal, communities across Virginia and around the country are still feeling the devastating effects of COVID-19,”  Herring said in a statement Friday. 

The 23 attorney’s general says that lifting this moratorium now would throw COVID-19 responses into disarray and renters and their families remain disproportionately vulnerable to COVID-19. “Unleashing a wave of evictions would undermine our economic recovery and the ongoing effort to fight the pandemic.” Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul said Friday.

The attorney’s general also stress that renters and their families remain disproportionately vulnerable to COVID-19. “The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a historic threat to the nation’s public health. Keeping people in their homes and out of crowded or congregate settings — like homeless shelters — by preventing evictions is a key step in helping to stop the spread of COVID-19,” the CDC said in a statement when they last extended the moratorium.

For someone to become eligible for protection under this moratorium, a tenant must submit a declaration attesting, in part, that they are financially unable to pay full rent, meet certain income requirements, and would be homeless or forced to move into a shelter or shared residence if evicted.

“This pandemic has directly impacted our economy and thousands of Virginians, many of whom are hourly workers, have been put in tough financial situations because of restaurant and business closures,” Herring said in a statement Friday. “Maintaining the CDC’s eviction ban will help those who have fallen on hard times to stay in their homes while they work to get themselves back on a more solid financial footing.”

It is unclear at this time if the CDC will be extending the deadline on the moratorium beyond June 30.

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