On September 4, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a moratorium on evictions through December 31, 2020, for millions of renters. That order has been extended through March 31, 2021.
A collection of landlords filed suit against the CDC, HUD, HHS and others in the Western District Court of Tennessee. The landlords alleged the Halt Order on Evictions exceeded the CDC’s authority under the enabling statute, is arbitrary and capricious in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act (APA), violates the procedural due process requirements of the APA, and is unconstitutional.
On March 15, 2021, the Court ruled in favor of the landlords and held the CDC does not have the statutory authority to place moratoria on evictions and Congress no longer ratifies the Halt Order since an extension was not included in the most recent relief package. The Court ruled the Halt Order on Evictions from the CDC is unenforceable in the Western District of Tennessee.
The Department of Justice has appealed this ruling and has requested an emergency hearing to issue a stay on the ruling, meaning the DOJ is asking the ruling declaring the order unenforceable not go into effect until an appeal is heard.
Questions and Answers regarding the ruling:
1) What counties are in the Western District of Tennessee?
Benton, Carroll, Chester, Crockett, Decatur, Dyer, Fayette, Gibson, Hardeman, Hardin, Haywood, Henderson, Henry, Lake, Lauderdale, Madison, McNairy, Obion, Perry, Shelby, Tipton and Weakley.
2) If I live in one of these counties and own or manage property, is the CDC moratorium on evictions in effect?
At this time, no, the moratorium on evictions (Halt Order) is unenforceable in your county. This could change if an emergency hearing is held to stay the ruling. Tennessee REALTORS® will keep you updated.
3) What if I do not live in a county in the Western District?
The CDC’s Halt Order on Evictions would still be applicable.
4) Is the CDC’s Order going to be extended?
The order was not extended by Congress in the most recent relief package, though, it was extended in previous packages from Congress. The President has extended the order via Executive Order in the past, so that could still occur. NAR is closely following the issue at the federal level.