The U.S. Supreme Court is permitting evictions to resume around the country by blocking the Biden administration from enforcing a temporary pandemic-related eviction moratorium.
"If a federally imposed eviction moratorium is to continue, Congress must specifically authorize it," the majority wrote in an unsigned opinion.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention order issued earlier this month temporarily prohibited evicting those unable to afford their rent from residential properties located in counties with substantial or high transmission of SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus that causes COVID-19.
The court said that "the CDC has imposed a nationwide moratorium on evictions in reliance on a decades-old statute that authorizes it to implement measures like fumigation and pest extermination. It strains credulity to believe that this statute grants the CDC the sweeping authority that it asserts."
The agency issued the new order, which had been slated to stay in effect through Oct. 3, shortly after the expiration of a previous eviction moratorium.
While the latest moratorium applied to counties with significant COVID-19 transmission, the prior moratorium had applied nationwide, according to the New York Times.
The three most liberal Supreme Court Justices dissented from the majority's move.
"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued an order that, in light of the rise of the COVID–19 Delta variant, temporarily prohibits certain evictions in high-transmission counties through October 3. Today, this Court, as an emergency matter, without full briefing or argument, blocks that order by vacating a lower court's stay. I think the Court is wrong to do so, and I dissent," Justice Stephen Breyer wrote. He was joined in the dissent by Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.
"The National Apartment Association (NAA) has long held that the CDC's eviction moratorium is unlawful and is pleased with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down the order," NAA President and CEO Bob Pinnegar said in a statement. "The government must move past failed policies and begin to seriously address the nation's debt tsunami which is crippling both renters and housing providers alike. Only by moving past moratoriums can we ensure America's 40 million renters have affordable homes today, tomorrow and in the future."