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Why California shouldn't worry too much about the overturn of the CDC's eviction moratorium

Even though the CDC's moratorium was overturned, California's eviction moratorium is not impacted.
Credit: Вячеслав Думчев - stock.adobe.com
Civil servant sticks a notice of eviction of the tenant, close up

CALIFORNIA, USA — An overturned CDC eviction moratorium raised eyebrows across the country, leaving questions as to just how widespread of an impact it could have.

The national ban was put in place last year by the Trump Administration and extended by the Biden Administration. Some states like California adopted their own moratoriums.

In California, the state eviction moratorium was a law that extended renter protections into June for people devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.

While there are some questions in the air, Asm. David Chiu (D-San Francisco), the author of the original moratorium bill in California, said the ruling won’t be impacting California’s moratorium.

“Fortunately, the judge’s ruling only impacts the national moratorium. In California, we passed a number of significant eviction protections that will remain intact that are not impacted whatsoever by this ruling,” Chiu said.

In Wednesday's ruling, U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich said the CDC didn't have the authority to issue a broad moratorium on evictions across all rental properties.

"The question for the Court is a narrow one: Does the Public Health Service Act grant the CDC the legal authority to impose a nationwide eviction moratorium? It does not," the judge wrote in a 20-page opinion, adding the "CDC Order must be set aside."

The Justice Department is appealing the ruling, which has garnered attention from the California Apartment Association.

"With the federal eviction restrictions gone, some California lawmakers may feel extra pressure to renew the state moratorium," according to the CAA.

The CAA is analyzing whether an extension of the state moratorium is needed, noting issues with the current law. Those issues include finding ways to address renters who don't qualify for funding and live rent-free and tenants who refuse to apply for funding or refuse to work with their housing provider.

With California’s own moratorium starting to wind down and no national moratorium, the conversations about possibly extending the protections could change.

Chiu said the call from the Trump Administration for a national moratorium last year was a boon to the cause. He said there wasn’t a full consensus for the protections from landlord representatives.

“For there to be that bi-partisan support for the idea of protecting tenants during this time of pandemic and recession, really was important in bolstering the need for keeping folks sheltered in place,” Chiu said.

While Chiu believes California will need to extend eviction protections beyond the end of June, one talking point that sticks out is the $2.6 billion in funds meant to help renters and landlords that came alongside the moratorium. Chiu said it was recently implemented, but officials haven’t seen everyone eligible for the money take advantage of it.

“I think we’re going to have to have a conversation about how we extend these eviction protections knowing that, thus far, so few renters have been applying for the funding they’re eligible for,” Chiu said.

He said officials will keep an eye out for answers as the state learns more about how many people are able to take advantage of the program, how many people owe back rent, and how many are at risk of eviction. But he believes there are many tenants still vulnerable and who haven’t taken advantage of the funds.

More information on the funds and how to apply for them can be found HERE.

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