Eviction pause remains: Judge agrees to delay order ending CDC eviction freeze

A federal judge on Friday agreed to keep the nationwide freeze on evictions intact after her ruling earlier this month struck down the moratorium handing a temporary reprieve to cash-strapped renters.

The move keeps the eviction pause in place as the Biden administration appeals the judge’s May 5 decision that the CDC exceeded its authority with the ban on evictions.

U.S. District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich agreed to stay her earlier ruling in a 10-page ruling, which invalidated the nationwide freeze on evictions that was put in place by federal health officials amid the pandemic.

In granting the emergency stay, Friedrich said the CDC’s “strong interest in controlling the spread of COVID-19 and protecting public health” outweighed other factors, including the potential loss of revenue to landlords.

Background: Enacted in September as a public health measure, the CDC order was designed to mitigate the spread of coronavirus by helping financially distressed tenants remain in their homes, instead of forcing them into homeless shelters or other crowded living spaces. The eviction pause was later extended through June.

Housing advocates celebrate: “Without this stay, millions of families would be thrown into a spiral of irreparable and devastating harm, COVID-19 rates would spike, and policy interventions, like rental assistance, would be rendered worthless,” Emily Benfer, a law professor at Wake Forest University, said. “That battle is still on the horizon but, for today, the public health is better protected.”

What’s next: The Biden administration’s appeal of that decision is pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.