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A federal judge in Ohio ruled that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention exceeded their authority in banning evictions nationwide.
U.S. District Judge J. Philip Calabrese, appointed to court by former President Donald Trump, sided with a group of property owners who argued in October that the CDC had no authority to ban them from evicting their tenants .
Landlords applauded the verdict.
“This decision makes it clear that federal agencies cannot wield power that Congress has not given them,” Steve Simpson, a senior attorney for the Pacific Legal Foundation who represented landlords, said in a statement. “Now our customers no longer have to provide apartments free of charge.”
The CDC moratorium has existed since September 2020 and prohibits the eviction of tenants who have financial problems due to the coronavirus pandemic. It is due to expire at the end of March.
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Proponents said the Ohio decision could put vulnerable renters at risk of becoming homeless and undermine the country’s fight to fight the virus.
“This arrangement could immediately result in a spate of tenant evictions, leading to the spread of Covid-19 and possible death from Covid-19,” said Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “The [Department of Justice] should appeal immediately and request a postponement of the sentence. “
Less than two weeks ago, another Texas federal judge ruled that the CDC’s eviction moratorium was unconstitutional. The Justice Department quickly announced it would appeal the decision and said the CDC moratorium remained in place.
The DOJ did not immediately respond to a request for comment on how it would react to this decision.
There have also been legal challenges to the moratorium in Georgia and Louisiana, though unsuccessful.
Legal experts are currently undecided about the immediate impact of the Ohio ruling on renters and landlords across the state and across the country.
Proponents of housing construction pointed out that with a rental price of more than $ 40 billion on the way to tenants from the stimulus package passed in December and the stimulus package that came into force on Thursday, the decision is particularly limited in time.
“The erosion of evacuation protection before rental support reaches the most vulnerable, and just as we are nearing a tipping point in the pandemic, it is only undermining mitigation strategies and escalating the crisis, making the recovery much more unsustainable,” said Emily Benfer, a visiting law professor at Wake Forest University.
A study found that 11% of Ohio renters were at risk of eviction during the pandemic.
More than 980,000 people in Ohio have contracted the coronavirus and more than 17,600 people have died from it, including over 1,800 on Wednesday.