Update on Court Responses to the CDC Eviction Moratorium

Last week, Federal Judge Dabney L. Friedrich of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ruled the CDC’s ban on evictions nationwide was outside of the agency’s authority. 

In the 20-page court document, it relays that the relevant decision isn’t without precedent, 

“This Court is not the first to address a challenge to the national eviction moratorium set forth in the CDC Order. In the last several months, at least six courts have considered various statutory and constitutional challenges to the CDC Order. Most recently, the Sixth Circuit denied a motion to stay a district court decision that held that the order exceeded the CDC’s authority under 42 U.S.C. § 264(a)… Separately, another district court declared that the federal government lacks the constitutional authority altogether to issue a nationwide moratorium on evictions”

In response to the ruling, the Justice Department took immediate action to appeal, and judge Friedrich has placed a stay on the court order pending that appeal process.  

The full 20-page memorandum opinion (Doc No. 54 by Judge Dabney L. Friedrich) can be found here:

Civil Action No. 20-cv-3377, Alabama Association of Realtors v. U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services et al 

States across the country are responding to the federal eviction moratorium in different ways which have an impact on both landlords and tenants. A few months back, although California moved towards renter protections, Texas blazed the trail for landlord interests by winning their federal court battle for state autonomy.  

“In the debate between state-level regulations and the federal moratorium is the state’s right to govern with autonomy versus the federal government’s responsibility to the economic and physical health of the country at large.”  

You can read more about those California changes and Texas court ruling here:

State Responses to the Eviction Ban Moratorium

Since the federal judge in Texas declared the CDC eviction ban unconstitutional in February, many other states have joined the march for agency on matters of eviction.

Both Ohio and Tennessee district courts ruled against the validity of the CDC eviction moratorium:

US District Court for Northern District of Ohio: Judge Philip Calabrese ruled the CDC order invalid because the ban exceeded the CDC’s authority

US District Judge Mark Norris also ruled the CDC overstepped its authority and is allowing evictions to resume in Memphis, Shelby County, and West Tennessee.  

Some states are still in the trenches of legal battle such as:

The New Civil Liberties Alliance filed a class-action lawsuit against the CDC in hopes of helping the majority of small, private landlords struggling to stay solvent. 

NCLA released the following statement:

“Mr. Mossman and the other housing providers in this suit are being ordered by CDC to provide homes for free with no ability to recover their property when tenants fail to pay their contractual obligations. There is little to no chance any of these housing providers, who pay their mortgages and property taxes, keep up with the maintenance and provide a livable space, will recover their losses. We file this action on behalf of these plaintiffs but also for the entire class of blameless housing providers who have been irreparably injured by the CDC order.” — John Vecchione, NCLA Senior Litigation Counsel

Conversely, Northern District of Georgia and Western District of Louisiana are leaning in favor of the CDC for now.

To find out what is happening in your state, NOLO provides this useful reference:

Emergency Bans on Evictions and Other Tenant Protections Related to Coronavirus

Even in areas where evictions are being processed, landlords are facing struggles from backed-up court schedules to the difficulties of virtual hearings. But never-the-less, despite these hurdles, landlords are pursuing evictions in an attempt to stay above water on their own financial obligations. 


Landlords and tenants across the country are waiting to see how the US Justice Department will address the CDC moratorium in the latest federal ruling. And that might not be decided on until after the current moratorium extension ends. Although the tide appears to be turning in favor of landlords, it’s difficult to predict how long the moratorium will be extended and upheld or how the US Justice Department will rule. 

We can predict, if the moratorium is extended, lawsuits in progress against the CDC to overturn their unilateral edict against evictions will continue and new lawsuits will be filed. Landlords and property managers will continue to seek legal action to recoup financial losses either directly with a tenant or against the CDC itself for causing injury to their bottom line. 

Although being able to move forward with evictions is a relief for landlords facing financial difficulties, it’s important to remember that renters continue to face hardship and will consider any ruling in favor of eviction, distressing.

The CDC eviction moratorium will have a long-lasting impact on both landlords and renters far into the future regardless of when the ban is lifted.