New York City housing advocates and tenants march to demand Gov. Andrew Cuomo cancel rent amid the pandemic on Oct. 10, 2020.

Andrew Lichtenstein | Corbis News | Getty Images

A federal judge rejected on Friday a request by landlord groups to block the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new eviction moratorium.

The decision by Judge Dabney Friedrich of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia is a win for the Biden administration. 

More than 11 million Americans remain behind on their rent, moving the CDC to issue a new eviction ban earlier this month after its previous one expired on July 31. That protection applies until Oct. 3 and to places where Covid rates remain high.

The ruling was on technical grounds. Friedrich said the “Court’s hands are tied,” by an earlier appellate ruling to keep the moratorium in effect. She said the plaintiffs could challenge the policy with the D.C. Circuit.

Alabama landlords who made the request will probably appeal.

“The Administration believes that CDC’s new moratorium is a proper use of its lawful authority to protect the public health,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement on Friday. “We are pleased that the district court left the moratorium in place, though we are aware that further proceedings in this case are likely.”

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The CDC’s eviction ban has faced numerous legal challenges and landlords have criticized it, saying they can’t afford to house people for free or shoulder the country’s massive rental arrears. On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down at least part of New York’s eviction moratorium.

Housing advocates say evictions must be barred until states distribute the $45 billion in rental assistance allocated by Congress. Just around $4.2 billion of that money has reached households, according to a recent analysis by the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

“It’s imperative that cities and states deliver the rental assistance to at risk communities as quickly as possible to prevent eviction and the consequences for public health across all of our communities,” said Emily Benfer, a visiting professor of law at Wake Forest University.

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