During last Tuesday’s White House press conference, President Biden responded to a question regarding his administration’s forthcoming announcement on the CDC’s eviction moratorium: “The bulk of the constitutional scholarship says that it’s not likely to pass constitutional muster.” Despite Biden’s acknowledgment of the ban’s lack of constitutionality, the White House announced that it would allow for a 60-day extension of the eviction ban, leaving landlords across the nation in a lurch to collect much-needed income.
Under the new extension, landlords will have gone a year without the ability to evict tenants who have failed to pay rent. The Wall Street Journal reports that “Individual landlords, or “mom and pop” businesses, own about four out of 10 rental units in the U.S,” based on data collected from the U.S. Census Bureau. Owners like Maral Boyadjian describe their real estate business as their sole source of income. Landlords must remain current with mortgages and continue to pay to maintain their properties, even in the absence of rental income from tenants. As of June, more than 6 million people remain behind on rent, and landlords are out $27.5 BILLION in money owed them.
The Supreme Court ruled earlier this summer that the CDC had “exceeded its existing statutory authority by issuing a nationwide eviction moratorium.” Despite this, the Court allowed for the continuation of the ban through the end of July. Justice Brett Cavanagh justified this emergency extension in order to allow for the “orderly distribution of the congressionally appropriated rental assistance funds.” Importantly, the Chief Justice noted that any further extension would require “clear and specific Congressional authorization.”
Fast forward to the first week of August, on the heels of the extension’s Court determined end, and the Biden administration has failed to disburse some $45 billion of federal funds specifically allotted for rental assistance. Biden and his advisors have caved instead to pressure from far-Left members of his own party and exhibited an abuse of executive authority to buy more time to distribute funds where needed.
John Daniel Davidson of The Federalist aptly states that “the notion that a federal agency tasked with the control and prevention of infectious diseases could simply by fiat impose an “eviction moratorium” on the entire country, effectively nationalizing housing, is shocking and outrageous.” Indeed, what should shock observers is not just the devastating impact this decision bears on already hurting landlords, but also this administration’s willingness to dismiss Constitutional authority.