Economy4 hours ago (May 14, 2021 06:00PM ET)
By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -A federal judge on Friday agreed to put on hold her May 5 ruling invalidating the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) nationwide moratorium on residential evictions pending the Justice Department’s appeal.
U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich’s ruling said the CDC’s action was supported by data analyses “that estimate that as many as 433,000 cases of covid-19 and thousands of deaths could be attributed to the lifting of state-based eviction” bans.
While acknowledging landlords face continuing unpaid rent, Friedrich said “the magnitude of these additional financial losses is outweighed by the department’s weighty interest in protecting the public.”
The landlord groups assert they “will continue to lose between $13.8 billion and $19 billion each month in unpaid rent as a result of the CDC Order, and that over the course of the year their cumulative losses will be close to $200 billion,” Friedrich’s opinion said.
She added that while the court believes “there is not a substantial likelihood the Department will succeed on appeal, the CDC’s nationwide eviction moratorium raises serious legal questions.”
The Justice Department did not immediately comment.
Earlier on Friday, landlords mounted a separate challenge to the CDC nationwide eviction freeze, urging the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to block the ban.
The CDC moratorium, which began in September and is scheduled to lapse on June 30, has drawn multiple legal challenges.
At least two other courts found the moratorium exceeds the CDC’s authority under the law, but declined to issue injunctions blocking it.
The moratorium covers renters who expected to earn less than $99,000 a year, or $198,000 for joint filers, or who reported no income, or received stimulus checks. Renters also had to swear they were doing their best to make partial rent payments, and that evictions would likely leave them homeless or force them into “shared” living quarters.
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