The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) is spearheading a legal challenge that questions the authority of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to enact a moratorium on evictions.
The NAHB is teaming with the Pacific Legal Foundation, Skyworks Ltd., Cedarwood Village LLC and Monarch Investment and Management Group in a complaint in the Northern District of Ohio. The complaint focuses on a CDC order that prevents landlords from evicting tenants who are not paying rent. The CDC moratorium took effect on September 4 and lasts through December 31.
The CDC stated the order was designed to help individuals who “used best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing” and expected to earn no more than $99,000 in annual income for 2020. The covered individuals would be “unable to pay the full rent or make a full housing payment due to substantial loss of household income, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, a lay-off, or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses” and were making efforts to provide timely partial payments. Furthermore, the CDC said that any eviction would result in the tenant becoming homeless “because the individual has no other available housing options.”
In its legal filing, the NAHB and its allies argued the order ignores the needs of landlords who are required to pay bills and employees while maintaining properties where they are not able to collect rent. The trade group added the CDC order goes beyond the agency’s federal authority.
“NAHB is concerned the CDC's rental eviction moratorium could result in unforeseen negative economic consequences without dedicated funding for rental assistance,” said NAHB Chairman Chuck Fowke, a custom home builder from Tampa, Fla. “Absent rental income, these small mom and pop property owners must continue to pay their mortgage, property taxes, employees and cleaning/maintenance services. And without sufficient rental income, a number of properties would be pushed into foreclosure.”