A lawsuit filed in October by a group of Texas landlords resulted in a federal district judge ruling the COVID-19 eviction moratorium as unconstitutional. Landlords argued the moratorium violated their property rights and they are owed thousands in rent. It’s just one of the many eviction ban lawsuits filed in federal courts, says Realtor.com. The CDC first issued its national eviction moratorium in September under the Trump administration and it has since been extended under the Biden administration. The federal judge concluded that no federal law requires a landlord to provide a dwelling in the first instance to someone who cannot pay rent.
“The federal order against evicting such persons is thus not supportable as a backstop to avoid undercutting such a broader regulation.”
Barker also noted that the federal government’s lawyers were unable to point to any other instance where federal officials had blocked evictions before, including during the Spanish Flu pandemic. “The federal government has not claimed such a power at any point during our Nation’s history until last year,” Barker wrote.
Consumer advocates countered that the CDC’s order has been upheld by other federal judges until now. “The CDC and state moratoria have overwhelmingly been upheld as constitutional and are helping to stop the spread of COVID-19 — something we urgently need until the pandemic is controlled,” said Emily Benfer, a housing and public health lawyer.