JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday issued a new moratorium on evictions that would last until Oct. 3.
The previous eviction ban expired Saturday. The new eviction moratorium announced Tuesday could help keep millions in their homes as the coronavirus’ delta variant has spread and states have been slow to release federal rental aid. It would temporarily halt evictions in counties with “substantial and high levels” of virus transmissions and would cover areas where 90% of the U.S. population lives.
But Jacksonville attorney Dan Copeland, who specializes in eviction cases, said there’s a chance the CDC’s eviction ban might be in peril if a property owner wants to challenge the ban.
“Well, there’s a good chance this one will not stick if it gets challenged in federal court based on the June Supreme Court ruling that the CDC overstepped their bounds,” Copeland said.
When the court allowed the previous eviction ban to remain in place through the end of July by a 5-4 vote, one justice in the majority, Brett Kavanaugh, wrote that Congress would have to act to extend it further.
“Congress has already gone home for their six-week summer break. The Senate is still in session, trying to get the infrastructure bill out of the Senate. But nothing can happen without the House, and the House won’t be back until after Labor Day,” Copeland explained.
In the meantime, Copeland said, renters and landlords need to apply for the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program, which has more than $46 billion available nationally to renters who are unable to pay rent and utilities. Of that money, $1.4 billion was allocated to help renters in Florida. Copeland said the money is there and it’s a very similar process of applying for the Paycheck Protection Program, which helped small businesses continue to pay their employees during the shutdown.
But there’s something he said he still can’t understand.
“Why only $3 billion of the $46 billion has actually been distributed and spent when it’s been available for months?” Copeland said.