The Supreme Court on Thursday blocked part of New York’s moratorium on evictions, put into effect because of the coronavirus pandemic, less than a month before it was supposed to expire anyway.
Over three dissenting votes, the court said New York could no longer enforce a provision that allows renters to stave off eviction by submitting a hardship declaration form that tells the state they lost income or had more expenses during the pandemic or that moving would harm their health. The pause on evictions expires at the end of August. The court’s ruling allows some evictions to resume.
“This scheme violates the Court’s longstanding teaching that ordinarily no man can be a judge in his own case’ consistent with the Due Process Clause,” Supreme Court justices wrote in their ruling.
Five landlords and one landlords’ association had petitioned the court, saying “for more than sixteen months and counting, the courthouse door has been barred to New York’s landlords, denying them any meaningful opportunity to be heard.”
New York’s eviction moratorium is set to expire Aug. 31, but some lawmakers had been working to extend it.
Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan dissented with Thursday’s SCOTUS ruling.
“Moreover, the challenged law will expire in less than three weeks,” Breyer wrote, saying “such drastic relief” is not appropriate at this time.
A separate measure remains in place that protects renters if they can prove to a court they’ve suffered because of the pandemic.
Lower federal courts had rejected the plea by New York landlords to allow evictions to resume and the state had urged the justices to follow suit.
One major difference between the New York and CDC moratoriums is that the state’s legislature enacted the moratorium into law, along with providing billions of dollars in assistance to renters and landlords. Congress failed to extend the nationwide eviction moratorium before the CDC acted on its own.