Local realtors associations are mounting legal challenges to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest ban on evictions, siding with housing providers who continue to face financial losses.
The Alabama and Georgia Associations of Realtors, together with two housing providers, filed a motion last week looking to block enforcement of the ban, which the CDC announced Tuesday. While the CDC’s latest ban is a touch narrower in its scope, it’s believed that around 90% of U.S. renters will be covered by it.
The two realtors associations were involved in a previous legal challenge to the original CDC eviction ban that remains ongoing. They filed a suit calling for that ban to be struck down last November, saying at the time they supported the rights of property owners. That case ultimately went to the Supreme Court, which ruled the CDC couldn’t extend its eviction moratorium beyond July 31 without new legislation approved by Congress.
Democrats in Congress then failed in an effort to extend the CDC’s first ban.
With the new ban now in place, the Alabama and Georgia realtors associations are asking a U.S. District Court judge to uphold the earlier Supreme Court ruling.
The White House has said that this is an entirely new moratorium as opposed to an extension of the previous one and argued that it’s necessary to assist struggling renters as the COVID-19 Delta variant continues to spread across the U.S. For their part, housing providers say the eviction ban, which allows renters to skip payments each month, costs them around $13 billion each month.
“A majority of the Supreme Court made clear the eviction moratorium exceeds the CDC’s statutory authority and could not be extended beyond July 31,” the plaintiffs stated in their new challenge. “The Supreme Court’s ruling was hardly ambiguous. Indeed, the White House clearly acknowledged that the Supreme Court had ruled that the CDC lacked authority to extend the moratorium.”
While the legal challenge rumbles on, the National Association of Realtors has urged states to speed up the disbursement of rental assistance funds allocated by Congress. Last week the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau created a new tool that makes it simple for renters to apply for the rental assistance. So far, just 6.5% of the almost $50 billion assigned for rental assistance has been distributed.
“About half of all housing providers are mom-and-pop operators, and without rental income, they cannot pay their own bills or maintain their properties,” NAR President Charlie Oppler said in a statement last week. “NAR has always advocated that the best solution for all parties is rental assistance paid directly to housing providers to cover the rent and utilities of any vulnerable tenants during the pandemic. No housing provider wants to evict a tenant and considers it only as a last resort.”