The California Apartment Association, in partnership with the San Francisco Apartment Association, today filed an amicus brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to accept a case challenging the eviction moratorium imposed in the State of Washington.

The case, Gonzales v. Inslee, seeks to declare Washington State’s eviction moratorium an uncompensated government taking. The court declined to hear a similar challenge to the City of Seattle’s eviction moratorium in February. However, unlike that case, the court has required the State of Washington to file a response in the Gonzales case – which indicates a baseline level of interest from the court.  

In the brief, CAA and SFAA detail the significant impacts of eviction moratoria on rental property owners. These restrictions, also enacted in response to the pandemic in California jurisdictions such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Oakland, placed stringent limitations on evictions, profoundly affecting many landlords. In addition to detailing the damage to many rental housing providers done by the pandemic-era policy, the brief urges the high court to take up the question now, given that these policies aren’t merely a pandemic relic that it can ignore, as shown by post-COVID eviction delay policies enacted in several California cities.

The Gonzales case has special importance for CAA as it largely mirrors the association’s own legal challenge to the Alameda County eviction moratorium. If the court were to accept the Gonzales case for review and, ultimately, rule in favor of the landlords in that case – that ruling would be likely to have direct bearing on the outcome of CAA’s own challenge in addition to setting pivotal legal precedent across the United States.

Other groups joined CAA and SFAA in urging the high court to accept the Gonzales case, including the Cato Institute, Rental Housing Association of Washington, and the Buckeye Institute.

The Supreme Court is expected to decide whether to accept the Gonzales case in late May. At that time, it could decide whether to grant a writ of certiorari, which would mean agreeing to hear the case and review the decisions of the lower courts, or deny it – spelling the end to the appeal process for the case.