US Supreme Court lifts moratorium on tenant evictions

The Supreme Court of the United States lifted, Thursday, August 26, the moratorium on evictions of tenants, yet scheduled until October. The highest U.S. court sided with the homeowners, who said they were victims of unwarranted measures, and argued that any further renewal of a moratorium should be decided by Congress – and not by health officials, who were previously here at the origin of these measures.

A first moratorium on evictions was thus decided in 2020, when the United States was facing, like the rest of the world, the first waves of the Covid-19 pandemic, leading to social difficulties and a dizzying unemployment rate. When the moratorium expired at the end of July, President Joe Biden’s administration urged U.S. lawmakers to urgently legislate to extend it.

Elected officials did not succeed before Congress ceased its work for the summer break. The left wing of the Democratic Party then increased the pressure on Mr. Biden, an elected member of the House, Cori Bush, even camping for several days in front of the seat of Congress. The health authorities thus ended up deciding themselves a new moratorium, then relying on the risks to public health to justify their decision.

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Increased risk of exposure to Covid-19

“If an eviction moratorium imposed by the federal authorities is to continue, Congress must specifically authorize it”, swept the Supreme Court, with a conservative majority, in an argument of fifteen pages. The White House immediately announced its ” disappointment “. “Because of this decision, families will have to face painful evictions, and communities across the country will be facing an increased risk of exposure to Covid-19”, lamented the spokesperson for the US president, Jen Psaki.

“President Biden once again calls on all entities that can from cities and states to local courts, landlords and ministerial agencies to act urgently to prevent evictions ”, she added.

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The US executive expected this moratorium to be challenged in court but hoped to give itself enough time to pay tenants allocated funds, which were to help them pay their rent, but whose payments had been significantly slowed.

The World with AFP