By Christian Britschgi | Reason.com
The Trump administration’s controversial nationwide eviction moratorium, issued through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) earlier this month, is now the subject of a lawsuit from landlords who argue that the public health agency exceeded its authority when it unilaterally banned landlords from evicting tenants in state courts.
On Friday, the National Apartment Association (NAA), a trade group, added its name to a lawsuit brought by four individual landlords in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, all of whom would move to evict a non-paying tenant but for the CDC’s order.
That includes Jeffrey Rondeau, a North Carolina man who, in good times, nets $20 renting out a home that he intended to move into when he retires, according to the lawsuit. Rondeau’s tenant has a spotty record of paying rent and hasn’t paid since July. Another plaintiff, Rick Brown of Virginia, asserts that his tenant has stopped paying rent for several months, and currently owes some $8,000 in back rent.
“In a lawsuit filed by landlords and the National Apartment Association against the CDC and the Trump Administration, landlords are arguing the federal government exceeded its authority in issuing a nationwide eviction moratorium.
The CDC and Trump Administration say the federal government had the power to issue the moratorium under the Public Health Services Act, which gives the CDC director the power to take any measures he or she deems “reasonably necessary” to prevent the interstate spread of communicable disease, including “inspection, fumigation, disinfection, sanitation, pest extermination, and destruction of animals or articles believed to be sources of infection.” In their lawsuit, the landlords argue Congress never intended this section of the Act to permit the federal government to place a nationwide moratorium on evictions.”
– Dan Gauthier, Rose Law Group Litigation Attorney