On May 5, 2021, a federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia vacated the national moratorium on evictions previously issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The judge granted summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs—three rental companies—reasoning that the CDC exceeded its statutory authority to respond to public health emergencies pursuant to the Public Health Service Act. However, despite this ruling, North Carolina’s moratorium on evictions remains in effect, as Governor Roy Cooper previously issued his own executive order extending the moratorium on evictions in North Carolina through June 30, 2021. Whether Governor Cooper will continue to extend the mortarium on evictions in North Carolina remains to be seen, as he recently lifted many COVID-19 restrictions following the CDC’s most recent updates regarding recommendations for fully vaccinated individuals.
The CDC announced the moratorium last fall, to begin September 4, 2020 and extend through the end of 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, the CDC continued to extend the moratorium, most recently through June 30, 2021. The moratorium was not automatic for all renters; those eligible were required to sign and deliver to their landlords a declaration under penalty of perjury attesting to certain requirements. The moratorium did not forgive or reduce rent, penalties, or late fees that would otherwise be owed, and renters remained responsible for any outstanding balances. The CDC estimated the moratorium would apply to as many as 40 million Americans (or, according to the Public News Service, 700,000 North Carolinians). The moratorium only applied to the rent provisions in leases, and tenants could still be evicted on other grounds, such as criminal activity, damaging or posing a significant risk of damage to the property, or violating other lease requirements.
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