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Justice Department Provides Clarity to Ohio District Court Ruling on Eviction Moratoriu

A recent statement by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has provided clarity on a recent legal decision to overturn the eviction moratorium decision by the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC).

On March 10, NAHB won a key legal decision when the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio ruled that, by issuing an eviction moratorium, the CDC exceeded the authority granted to it by Congress. NAHB brought the lawsuit as a plaintiff on behalf of its members.

On March 24, DOJ confirmed that the district court’s order applies to all NAHB members across the nation who rent residential properties to covered persons who submitted CDC declarations — not just those who reside in Ohio.

In other words, pending further guidance from the district court or subject to an appeal by the DOJ, the CDC eviction moratorium is currently set aside for all NAHB members.

NAHB filed suit because we believed that the CDC had overstepped its authority in issuing such a broad mandate. And while this is an important legal win to rein in federal overreach, NAHB continues to urge members to seek access to the $46.5 billion of rental funding through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program via your local government and housing authorities.

NAHB worked for a year with Congress and two administrations to ensure flexible funding so tenants are able to pay their rent and stay safely housed during the pandemic. Although funds have not been released as quickly as anticipated, NAHB has always stated that the best way to help all parties is through emergency funding and not moratorium mandates.

The reason the court decision was set aside for all NAHB members — and not all landlords nationwide — is because NAHB was a plaintiff in the case and we had “representational standing.” This means NAHB was acting as a representative of its members who have been impacted by the moratorium. When an association wins a case like this, the decision applies to all its members.

Meanwhile, recent media reports indicate that the CDC may seek to extend its eviction moratorium, which is set to expire on March 31. Given the district court’s ruling on March 10, even if the CDC does take action to extend the eviction moratorium, it should not apply to NAHB members.

For more information, contact Tom Ward.