Biden’s Eviction Ban Extension Draws Challenge by Landlords
(Bloomberg) -- Landlords filed a legal challenge to President Joe Biden’s extension of the coronavirus eviction moratorium until October, saying it goes against a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in July.
The Biden administration’s edict should be struck down because the high court clearly said when it allowed the moratorium to be continued it was relying on an assurance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that the agency had no intention of authorizing a further extension, according to a filing late Wednesday in the Atlanta-based federal court of appeals by the Alabama Association of Realtors.
The CDC extended a ban on evictions in areas of the country with substantial and high transmission of Covid-19 on Tuesday, after a firestorm of criticism from Democrats following the lapse of a previous moratorium on Saturday.
In July, the justices rejected calls by landlords and real-estate trade associations from Alabama and Georgia to block the moratorium while their challenge played out in court.
Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh joined the court’s three liberals in the majority. Kavanaugh cast the pivotal vote, saying he was letting the ban stay in effect temporarily even though he thought the CDC had exceeded its power.
The realtors’ association seized on Kavanaugh’s argument that legislative approval is required to further extend the moratorium.
“In substance and effect, the CDC’s latest action is an extension of the same unlawful ban on evictions that has been in effect since September 2020,” the group said in its filing.
The Biden administration has until Friday morning to respond.
The administration is seeking to keep Americans safe and housed for as long as possible to contain the spread of the Delta variant, according to a White House official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing litigation. The CDC identified the legal authority for a new eviction moratorium focused on counties with high or substantial case rates, the official said.
The National Apartment Association has a separate lawsuit pending in Washington to recover damages the organization claims its members suffered as a result of the federal eviction moratorium. The NAA claims that by the end of last year, more than 10 million delinquent tenants owed $57 billion in unpaid rent. Apartment owners are now responsible for $27 billion of debt not covered by federal rental assistance, the group argued in its July complaint.
The case is Alabama Association of Realtors v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 20-cv-03377, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).
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