Property owners must still comply with state and local eviction ordinances for now. State law still allows landlords selling a single-family home to evict a tenant if the buyer will occupy the property. Some local laws are more restrictive.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the CDC does not have the power to ban evictions, at least without Congressional Action. It did, however, state that the landlord-tenant relationship is “the particular domain of state lawsâ€. This ruling does not strike down those state and local ordinances relating to evictions. Although this rule stops the CDC from implementing its eviction orders, it did project a future ruling when it said: “The case has been thoroughly briefed before us—twice. And careful review of that record makes clear that the applicants [Alabama Assoc of REALTORS®) are virtually certain to succeed on the merits of their argument that CDC exceeded their authority.â€

While this case was only ruling on CDC’s authority, it did comment on the impact of landlords: “The moratorium has put the applicants, along with millions of landlords across the country, at risk of irreparable harm by depriving them of rent payments with no guarantee of eventual recovery. Despite the CDC’s determination that landlords should bear a significant financial cost of the pandemic, many landlords have modest means. And preventing them from evicting tenants who breach their leases intrudes on one of the most fundamental elements of property ownership—the right to exclude. See Loretto v. Teleprompter Manhattan CATV Corp., 458 U. S. 419, 435 (1982).â€

A few days before the US Supreme Court ruled, on August 25,2021, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied a preliminary injunction sought by Apartment Association of Los Angeles (AAGLA) to halt key provisions of the Los Angeles City’s eviction ban. This decision was focused on one theory only, whether the ordinance was unconstitutional under the Contracts Clause, and the Court held that issue was insufficient to lift the ban while the case proceeded. However, that Court indicated the moratorium is reasonably related to the legitimate public purpose of ensuring health and security during the pandemic. This is a limited ruling and the other aspects of this case, including other constitutional issues such as due process and takings, have yet to be determined.

Bottom Line: Landlords in California must still comply with existing eviction ordinances at the state and local level until and unless a court specifically strikes them down. Unlike the CDC ban, California state law allows landlords to evict tenants for certain “no-fault†reasons, such as a landlord in contract to sell their single family home to a buyer who will occupy the property. However, local eviction laws may be more restrictive. The U.S. Supreme Court, while ultimately the legal authority, has not ruled on the state and local ordinances.