Realtors Ask Court To Toss Eviction Moratorium

Property groups want an appeals court to overturn the CDC’s ‘unlawful’ ban

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Realtors went to court again this past weekend in an attempt to overturn the latest eviction moratorium, with both sides in the case asking for a decision by Thursday.

Key Takeaways

  • Property groups, led by the Alabama Association of Realtors, asked a federal appeals court to halt an eviction moratorium that applies to nearly 94% of the country.
  • Saturday’s court filing was the latest salvo in an ongoing legal battle between property owners and the Centers for Disease Control, which has banned evictions on grounds that mass evictions could worsen the pandemic.
  • Both the plaintiffs and the government have asked for a ruling by Thursday.

The Alabama Association of Realtors and other property groups filed a plea Saturday with the D.C. District Court of Appeals, asking it to reverse a Friday decision by a lower court judge allowing an eviction ban from the Centers for Disease Control to remain in place. Both the plaintiffs and the government asked the court for a ruling on the case by Thursday.

The CDC imposed a new eviction ban Aug. 3 after the previous ban, which had been in effect since last September, expired on July 31. The new ban is intended to prevent renters hard-hit by the pandemic’s economic fallout from further spreading the virus, and applies to counties with high or substantial COVID-19 transmission, which was nearly 94% of the country as of Monday.

The previous ban had also faced legal challenges from property owners, including the Alabama realty group, and ultimately landed in the Supreme Court. There, Justice Brett Kavanaugh allowed the moratorium to stand, but only because it had nearly expired anyway by the time it reached the court. In the majority opinion, Kavanaugh said the CDC had overstepped its authority in issuing the moratorium, and that it could not be extended without congressional authorization. An estimated 3.5 million adults are worried they will be evicted soon, according to a Census survey taken in late July and early August.

President Joe Biden had asked the CDC to create a new moratorium after a last-minute attempt by Democratic lawmakers to pass a new moratorium failed, saying that even if the new one didn’t pass legal muster, the legal process would buy time for struggling renters to use a massive federal rent relief program to pay the back rent they owed. The property groups seized on this statement in their argument to have the new moratorium tossed.

Given the President’s statement that this extension of the moratorium and any litigation in its defense are meant to buy time to keep an unlawful policy in place for as long as possible, this Court should issue an immediate administrative order vacating the stay while it considers this motion,” the plaintiffs wrote in the lawsuit.

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