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Supreme Court Upholds CDC Eviction Moratorium, Cites Upcoming Expiration

West face of the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C.

The eviction moratorium implemented last September by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention won a crucial legal victory just before it expires.

The U.S. Supreme Court voted in a 5-4 decision to uphold the eviction moratorium, striking down a challenge from a group of plaintiffs led by the Alabama Association of Realtors, Commercial Observer reports. The CDC had already announced in mid-June that the moratorium wouldn't be extended past July 31.

For the next month, the Supreme Court's decision will give a measure of security to renters in states such as Alabama and Texas, where judges had vacated the moratorium and allowed landlords to ignore it. Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who cast the deciding vote, cited the moratorium's upcoming natural expiration in his majority opinion, CO reports.

Kavanaugh agreed with the plaintiffs that the CDC exceeded its legal authority in issuing the national moratorium, but his pragmatic reasoning led him to side with Chief Justice John Roberts and the three liberal justices, Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer, SCOTUS Blog reports.

Over the life of the moratorium, which will wind up having lasted 11 months, it was the subject of frequent criticism from advocates of landlords and tenants alike. Landlords argued that it left them without the ability to re-lease apartments to tenants who could pay, and tenants argued that it was difficult to apply, didn't provide rent relief and allowed landlords to assess fees.

Though many state and local eviction moratoriums remain in place and have been more effective than the one issued by the CDC, any layer of protection is crucial for renters behind on their payments, the vast majority of which have yet to see the billions of dollars in rent relief passed as part of the past two federal stimulus bills.