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CEO DATELINE – National Apartment Association sues CDC over eviction moratorium

Sept. 21, 2020
By Walt Williams

The National Apartment Association has joined a lawsuit against the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for issuing a nationwide moratorium on tenant evictions.

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The lawsuit by New Civil Liberties Alliance alleges that federal agencies do not have powers to waive state laws and the CDC encroached on private property rights by issuing the moratorium. NCLA is a nonprofit organization with a mission of defending civil liberties from the “administrative state.”

CDC issued the moratorium at the direction of the Trump administration. It was part of a series of administrative actions President Donald Trump took to alleviate the economic harm from the COVID-19 pandemic after Congress gridlocked on a new round of federal relief. Democratic critics charge his actions were more about creating the illusion of doing something.

The moratorium is meant to prevent potentially millions of newly jobless tenants from being evicted for failing to pay their rents. However, landlords point out the administration set aside no federal funds to cover that lost income for landlords.

“If owners and operators cannot pay their bills—including apartment staff payroll, taxes, mortgages and insurance—rental units lose financial viability and money stops flowing to other sectors of the economy,” NAA CEO Bob Pinnegar said in a statement. “Further, many rental housing units may be permanently lost from our already insufficient housing stock, whether by foreclosure, government liens or even the sale of the property.”

News outlets note that evictions are continuing even with the moratorium in place. Some states have issued their own moratoriums, which have also been challenged in court.