DC federal court says the CDC moratorium on evictions is illegal

CHAMBERSBURG – There might be some hope for financially strapped landlords and banks struggling with the loss of rental income because of the pandemic.

While part of the legislation in the stimulus packages included a moratorium on evictions, a federal court out of Washington, DC, said yesterday that was illegal and that the CDC does not have the authority to impose this kind of suspension.

The moratoriums (which would not allow anyone, whether a renter or a homeowner to be evicted during the pandemic) were extended by both the Trump and Biden administrations, but the court said no dice.

The Biden administration plans to appeal, but there could be a local work-around for landlords and banks that have been without rental income.

Attorney Clint Barkdoll, Pat Ryan and Michele Jansen discussed the issue on First News.

Barkdoll said, “Based on yesterday’s ruling, the moratorium has been lifted, so in theory a landlord or a bank that wants to foreclose could move forward, but my only word of caution would be this is going to be quickly appealed and we don’t know what an appeals court will do with this.”

Ryan asked, “So a rental property owner who has been saddled with this burden, is there a short window where they can execute this? I can’t afford to pay for you anymore (tenant) , sitting on your fanny doing nothing when there’s jobs all over the place and you’re not paying rent. What are they to do?”

Barkdoll explained a sort of loophole.

“Here’s one other kind of dirty little secret about all of this going back to last year,” he said. “I think attorneys and even our local court (knew) it was always dubious whether these restrictions were legal.

I saw court orders from local county level courts that basically said this moratorium was not enforceable so a landlord or a bank could go into court, get an order that granted them relief to proceed with an eviction or a foreclosure if it was a bank. That, of course, would always and still would remain an option if the appeal would be successful. Or you could see an order that pending the appeal, the moratorium remains in place. That very well could happen in which case if you’re a landlord or a bank you could still try to go into local court and get a local order that gives you the relief you need.”