Biden’s new eviction moratorium immediately challenged in court

Property managers and real estate agents file emergency motion

President Joe Biden and NAR president Charlie Oppler (Getty, NAR)
President Joe Biden and NAR president Charlie Oppler (Getty, NAR)

President Joe Biden’s new eviction moratorium was hit with a legal challenge just one day after he announced it.

A group of property managers and real estate agents submitted an emergency motion in a federal court on Wednesday night, with the backing of the National Association of Realtors. The motion asks a judge to apply a ruling against the previous eviction ban to the newest moratorium, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The new moratorium is not nationwide, as the old one was. Rather, it targets areas hardest hit by the pandemic. The CDC’s rationale for the original moratorium last September was to prevent evictions that could accelerate the spread of Covid.

But Biden’s limited extension was destined to face legal hurdles after the previous one expired over the weekend. The last one narrowly survived a challenge and Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh suggested that a new moratorium would require legislation from Congress. But Democrats, with their narrow margins in the House and Senate, could not round up the votes to pass one.

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Even if Biden’s action is struck down, it may buy the administration a few weeks to plot out next steps. The federal government has set aside almost $47 billion in rent relief, but states had only distributed about $3 billion of it by June 30. The administration will likely work with state and local governments to disperse the rest.

Congressional Democrats, having failed to extend the moratorium, had urged Biden to take action after it lapsed Saturday. An estimated 3.6 million renters were considered to be in danger of eviction.

Some state eviction moratoriums, including New York’s and New Jersey’s, remain in place.

[WSJ] — Holden Walter-Warner