Hold up there, pardner. The eviction moratorium wasn’t actually struck down. It did have a setback in federal court. Keep in mind that we don’t have a moratorium. We have eviction moratoria. Multiple municipalities have enacted their own versions to try to stop evictions and each one is evaluated separately if a lawsuit should be brought.
The reason this headline is so big is this is the first ruling in favor of landlords on the national level. Some landlords in Texas filed a suit arguing that the moratorium is unconstitutional because it exceeds the federal government’s authority to regulate commerce. Practically speaking, the moratorium prevents landlords from being paid for a service they provide.
The court ruled that the moratorium was unconstitutional and further, granted summary judgement. This meant that the argument was so compelling that it would be a waste of time to go through the normal court process. It was the first time that the federal moratorium was ruled unconstitutional. In fact, it was upheld in other venues previously.
So, I Can Evict Nonpaying Tenants Now?
Hold up again, there. This ruling only applied to the plaintiffs in this case and won’t block the moratorium elsewhere. You still can’t evict if a tenant meets certain criteria. You still can evict if there are other reasons. This lawsuit might be referenced in other jurisdictions and have the effect of setting precedent. It was a narrow victory for those opposed to the federal moratorium, which has been extended until March 31, 2021. Expect it to be further extended and plan accordingly.