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District Court Upholds CDC Eviction Moratorium

Local National Association of Realtor (NAR) chapters were not successful in efforts to vacate the federal eviction moratorium—slated to expire July 31—which the Biden Administration and Center for Disease Control (CDC) later extended through October 3. NAR representatives say small-scale landlords are suffering financially due to the ban.

“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,” says NAR President Charlie Oppler. “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.”

The CFPB recently announced it will offer a tool to help landlords and tenants—about 3.6 million of whom the bureau says reported "somewhat or very likely" eviction within the next two months—to access billions of government dollars allocated to assist households unable to pay rent, utilities, and other housing costs.

We should direct our energy toward the swift implementation of rental assistance,” Oppler continued.  “We do not need more uncertainty for tenants or housing providers.”

The United States Supreme Court in June denied a request by a group of landlords and real estate associations to invalidate the CDC moratorium on evictions, but Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who, along with Chief Justice John Roberts, sided with the liberal-leaning judges in the denial, wrote that his decision was based on the fact that the CDC moratorium was ending July 31. He indicated that his decision would be different should the bans be extended any further, something the CDC  said at the time it would not do. NAR cites the Judge's statement as part of its reasoning behind the lawsuit.

District Judge Dabney Friedrich in Washington, who heard NAR's argument, said she agreed the CDC lacked the power to issue the ban, but  said in her 13-page decision that she was bound to keep it in place by the D.C. Circuit’s order in June turning down an earlier request to block the moratorium—the "Court's hands are tied," she noted.

The White House said in a statement that "The Administration believes that CDC’s new moratorium is a proper use of its lawful authority to protect the public health. We are pleased that the district court left the moratorium in place, though we are aware that further proceedings in this case are likely."

The statement from Press Secretary Jen Psaki added, "The President continues to call on State and local elected officials and judges to issue local eviction moratoriums and move aggressively to distribute the $46.5 billion in emergency rental assistance funds that are available through the bipartisan COVID relief act that Congress passed in December 2020, and through the President’s American Rescue Plan that was enacted in March 2021. And, the President calls on landlords to seek out rental assistance and not evict tenants from their homes."

About Author: Christina Hughes Babb

Christina Hughes Babb is a reporter for DS News and MReport. A graduate of Southern Methodist University, she has been a reporter, editor, and publisher in the Dallas area for more than 15 years. During her 10 years at Advocate Media and Dallas Magazine, she published thousands of articles covering local politics, real estate, development, crime, the arts, entertainment, and human interest, among other topics. She has won two national Mayborn School of Journalism Ten Spurs awards for nonfiction, and has penned pieces for Texas Monthly, Salon.com, Dallas Observer, Edible, and the Dallas Morning News, among others. Contact Christina at christina.hughesbabb@thefivestar.com.
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