RICHMOND, Va. -- The Supreme Court of Virginia denied Governor Ralph Northam's request to extend the statewide eviction moratorium until October 1. In doing so, the court deferred to a Trump administration directive that has halted the eviction of certain renters though the end of 2020.
Senior Trump administration officials said the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has broad authority to take actions deemed reasonably necessary to prevent the spread of a communicable disease.
The federal eviction moratorium fell under that authority, the officials argued.
"Governor Northam is pleased to see the Virginia Supreme Court’s recognition that the federal eviction moratorium is in place through December 31, even if it's different from the state-level protections he requested," a spokesperson for the governor wrote in an email. "This recent order from the CDC, while welcome, required further review given recent inconsistencies with federal orders."
Since launching the statewide Rent and Mortgage Relief Program on June 29, the governor said his administration has received or processed more than 4,268 applications for households that are experiencing economic hardship as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The issues associated with this pandemic are complex. We will only conquer the public health crisis when families remain securely housed and are not displaced," Northam wrote.
The president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, Diane Yentel, said the federal order will provide relief for millions of anxious families, but added that the action delayed rather than prevented evictions.
Officials said local courts would still resolve disputes over whether the moratorium applies in a particular case.
EDITOR'S NOTE: A previous version of this story indicated the Supreme Court of Virginia approved the governor's request to extend the statewide eviction moratorium.