Eviction Moratorium: Small Housing Providers Head Back to Court
August 5, 2021
Housing providers brought their case back to court Wednesday after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) extended the eviction moratorium through October 3.
The Alabama and Georgia associations of REALTORS® filed an emergency motion Wednesday night with Judge Dabney Friedrich of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, asking her to enforce the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent order that the CDC could not extend the moratorium without new legislation.
The state associations, with NAR’s help, brought a lawsuit in the fall of 2020 challenging the CDC’s authority to impose a blanket ban on evictions. Friedrich ruled with housing providers but put her ruling on hold pending an ongoing appeal, which kept the moratorium in place.
Housing providers then asked the D.C Circuit Court to lift the stay, and after being denied that request, petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene and end the ban immediately. On June 29, a majority of the Supreme Court indicated the CDC lacked authority to implement a national eviction moratorium. The high court allowed the ban to expire at the end of July but stated that any further extension would need Congressional authorization.
A Partial Ban
The latest order from the CDC bans evictions in areas where COVID-19 cases are rising, a move estimated to cover 90% of the population.
Supporters of the extension acknowledged Tuesday it would likely face more legal battles.
“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, a broker-owner from New Jersey. “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.”
Getting Out Allocated Assistance
Rental assistance is now available in every state to cover up to a year-and-a-half of back and future bills.
“We should direct our energy toward the swift implementation of rental assistance,” Oppler continues. “We do not need more uncertainty for tenants or housing providers.”
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced a new online tool where renters and housing providers who continue to face pandemic-related financial hardships can locate and apply for payment assistance for rent, utilities, and other expenses. The new Rental Assistance Finder, at consumerfinance.gov/renthelp, can guide housing providers and renters to aid programs in their area.
NAR also offers a webpage devoted to information for its members, including links to emergency rental assistance programs, government resources, and more.
Source: Eviction Moratorium: Small Housing Providers Head Back to Court National Association of REALTORS® (August 4, 2021)