To Ban Evictions During COVID-19, the CDC Demands Huge Expansion of Executive Power
Lawsuits continue to mount against the Trump administration’s September-issued eviction moratorium, which bans landlords from removing tenants for non-payment of rent through the end of the year, and threatens hefty fines and even jail time for property owners who violate it.
The statutes and regulations that the administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are leaning on to justify their moratorium come nowhere close to authorizing a nationwide emergency ban on evictions, say a growing number of plaintiffs. Allowing the order to stand would give the federal bureaucracy near-limitless authority to issue regulations and mandates in the name of public health, they argue.
“I’m not being hyperbolic when I say that if [the CDC’s] interpretation is accepted, it means the CDC can issue any of the same orders at all that any of the governors across the country have done,” says Luke Wake, an attorney with the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF). “Business closures, micromanaging the economy, what we can do in our private circles. That would all be under their purview.”
On Friday, the PLF filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio on behalf of several Ohio property management companies and the National Association of Home Builders, all of whom say the CDC’s eviction moratorium is preventing them from removing non-paying tenants.
In their complaint, these plaintiffs argue that the CDC’s eviction moratorium—which went into effect within days of the text being released, without any opportunity for affected parties to provide feedb
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