A federal judge in Washington, D.C., ruled Friday against a challenge to President Joe Biden’s latest eviction moratorium.
U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich denied a request from the Alabama and Georgia association of Realtors to overturn an eviction moratorium from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The 60-day order bans landlords from evicting tenants, even if they do not pay rent, citing concerns over the spread of COVID-19.
“About half of all housing providers are mom-and-pop operators, and without rental income, they cannot pay their own bills or maintain their properties,” National Association of Realtors President Charlie Oppler said. “NAR has always advocated the best solution for all parties was rental assistance paid directly to housing providers to cover the rent and utilities of any vulnerable tenants during the pandemic. No housing provider wants to evict a tenant and considers it only as a last resort.”
An Ohio group applauded the federal government’s move to issue a new eviction moratorium just as courts across Ohio were beginning the process of hearing eviction cases again this week.
The Biden administration announced a new moratorium on evictions Tuesday evening despite doubts over whether the order will hold up in court.
The order lasts 60 days and applies only to areas hit hardest by COVID-19. It was issued after the previous order expired Saturday and is expected to cover roughly 80% of counties in the U.S.
Up to 1.95 million households across America will owe a collective $15 billion in back rent when the eviction moratorium expires Saturday, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia estimates.
That number will reach 2 million by December, according to the report released Friday. In Pennsylvania, about 60,000 renter households will owe $412 million come August.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) made one final 30-day extension of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program through July 31. President Joe Biden’s administration said its “hands are tied” by the courts on the matter and any further relief must come from Congress itself.
A Columbus-based think tank recently joined a Tennessee lawsuit calling for the end of the federal government’s eviction moratorium, saying the government lacks authority to rewrite private rental agreements.
The Buckeye Institute filed an amicus brief in Tiger Lily v. United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, which currently sits before the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. A U.S. district court ruled in favor of landlords, saying the law does not authorize the eviction moratorium.
“The Buckeye Institute is asking the court of appeals to affirm the district court’s decision that Congress did not give Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the authority to rewrite millions of private rental agreements across the country,” Jay Carson, senior litigator at the Buckeye Institute said. “Further, while the CDC’s intentions in imposing the moratorium may have been good, the repercussions are that small landlords face difficulties paying their mortgages, taxes and for the upkeep on their properties, which studies show lead many to exit the market, leaving fewer housing options available.”
Landlords are struggling after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) extended a national ban on certain evictions apparently to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The CDC extended the moratorium, first enacted in Sept. 2020, through June 30.
The New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA), a nonpartisan, nonprofit civil rights group, filed a class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa on behalf of Asa Mossman of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and other housing providers.