Judge’s ruling calls for end to national eviction moratorium

A federal judge handed down a ruling on Wednesday that calls for the end of a nationwide moratorium on evictions, leading to uncertainty for thousands of U.S. renters, CNBC reports.

With the nation returning to normalcy after more than a year of COVID-19 restrictions, courts are beginning to phase out temporary emergency measures now deemed unnecessary.

“It clearly had a huge benefit”

Although the latest ruling could have a significant impact on Americans facing eviction, U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich has agreed to place a temporary hold on her ruling.

Landlords have been forced to bear the brunt of the economic toll while the eviction moratorium has been in place, but Dabney’s decision signals that those days will likely soon be over.

For its part, the U.S. Department of Justice planned an appeal and sought a stay that will keep the existing order in place until the underlying case has concluded.

In a reaction to this week’s ruling, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said: “A recent study estimates that there were 1.55 million fewer evictions filed during 2020 than would be expected due to the eviction moratorium, so it clearly has had a huge benefit.”

While the nationwide order has arguably benefited many Americans struggling to pay their rent, the associated cost has been steep for landlords, many of whom are also dealing with tenuous financial circumstances.

“Exacerbate the spread of COVID-19”

Critics argue that the Biden administration should be pursuing policies that stimulate economic prosperity instead of maintaining a lengthy eviction moratorium.

Such a response would put renters in an economic position to fulfill their obligations, a long-term solution compared to the short-term fix of delayed evictions. After all, landlords have mortgages and other bills to pay, just like their renters do.

GOP leaders, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, have been doing their best to reopen the economy by lifting unnecessary COVID-19 restrictions, thus offering opportunities for renters, landlords, and all citizens an opportunity to recover from the turmoil of the past year.

Nevertheless, the Justice Department wants to keep the federal moratorium in place based on the assertion that “evictions exacerbate the spread of COVID-19, which has already killed more than half a million Americans, and the harm to the public that would result from unchecked evictions cannot be undone.”

Friedrich’s temporary hold will give landlord groups until May 12 to present legal filings in the case, and the federal government will have four days after that date to respond.

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