Florida Realtors Organization Files Lawsuit Against CDC’s Eviction Moratorium

 

A federal lawsuit was recently filed in Tampa by the Florida Realtors and a Pinellas County based real-estate firm, R.W. Caldwell Inc., that challenges the CDC’s eviction moratorium.

The moratorium established by the CDC was originally issued in September 2020 and was meant to expire by December 31st , 2020. The expiration date has since been extended three times, with the new expiration date on June 3oth, 2021. Florida Realtors called the moratorium “an unprecedented and unlawful federal administrative order.”

The lawsuit stems from the idea that the CDC does not have the legislative or constitutional authority to override state and federal law that allows landlords to collect payment or repossess property from non-paying individuals who are contractually obligated to adhere to such actions.

In response, the CDC Director Rochelle Walensky argues that the moratorium does not relinquish tenants’ responsibility to pay rent or other payments to their landlord but is only meant to prevent the spread of COVID-19. According to Walensky and the CDC, evicting people who most likely experienced loss of income during the pandemic would result in many families moving into smaller living quarters or even into homeless shelters which increases their likelihood of getting COVID-19.

Another aspect of the lawsuit relates to $800 million in federal rental assistance for Florida renters and landlords that was recently accepted and implemented by the state legislature. Although rental assistance is available through the American Rescue Plan Act to prevent eviction by helping people who were financially effected during the pandemic, it did not require the CDC to lift the moratorium which continues to prohibit evictions.

Georgia, Louisiana, and Ohio are among other states that have had realtor and landlord groups challenge the authority of the CDC and its eviction moratorium through legal action, but have come up short in implementing the halt of the CDC order.

Given that the Florida Realtors is the third-largest realtor organization in the country, there is potential for the lawsuit to gain traction as it travels through the federal court system.

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Casey Owens is a writer at The Florida Capital Star. Follow him on Twitter at @cowensreports. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Eviction Notice” by David Jackmanson. CC BY 2.0.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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