A U.S. appeals court ruled on Friday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lacked authority for the national moratorium it imposed last year on most residential evictions to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The ruling by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati means judges in Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio and Michigan are no longer bound by the moratorium, said Joshua Kahane, the lawyer who argued the case for a property manager.
The unanimous decision by the three-judge panel upheld a lower court ruling in March finding the CDC overstepped its authority when it issued the moratorium last year.
The opinion by Judges Alan Norris, Amul Thapar and John Bush said dealing with the evictions during the pandemic could not be delegated to the CDC under existing law.
"While landlords and tenants likely disagree on much, there is one thing both deserve: for their problems to be resolved by their elected representatives," wrote Judge Thapar in a concurring opinion.
The moratorium is set to expire on July 31 and the Biden administration said in June it would not grant further extensions.
The CDC issued a national eviction ban on all residential rental properties in September to facilitate self-isolation, contain the spread of COVID-19 and prevent homelessness.
It acted after the expiration of a narrower previous ban enacted by the U.S. Congress. The CDC's moratorium has been extended three times, once by Congress and twice by the agency itself.
The U.S. Supreme Court in June left the CDC ban in place by a 5-4 decision.
Congress also approved $46.5 billion in rental assistance designed to reach landlords, but aid has been slow to trickle out.
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