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A moratorium is the authorization to either postpone the repayment of debts or performance of obligations or to suspend some activity or law for a period of time, often indefinite in duration, until the purpose for which the moratorium was granted is satisfied or resolved.

The Supreme Court refused to articulate a categorical rule requiring compensation for temporary and complete deprivations of economic use of land under a moratoria in Tahoe-Sierra Preservation Council, Inc. v. Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, holding instead that moratoria do not constitute automatic per-se takings of property. The Court acknowledged that depending on the facts of a given case, moratoria may nonetheless be considered a compensable taking, even if temporary.

[Last updated in July of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]