Federal judge rules CDC doesn’t have authority to issue eviction moratorium

Published: May. 5, 2021 at 9:07 PM CDT
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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Some would say Wednesday’s ruling is a win for landlords, property owners, and realtors.

Wednesday, a federal judge ruled the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention overstepped its authority by imposing a nationwide eviction ban last year.

“We have the latest census data that says one out of seven people are behind on their rent who are renting,” Chief Judge Christopher Patterson said.

The eviction moratorium was put in place to keep people in their homes during the pandemic when money was tight.

“It’s curious because once the pandemic was upon us, we did see a lower rate,” said Patterson.

Since the beginning of 2021, there have been more than 120 completed evictions in Bay County, according to the Clerk of Courts Office. Patterson said this is a spike compared to the previous year with the moratorium. We learned landlords filed more than 400 evictions in the county between October 1st, 2020 and December 21st, 2020 after Governor Ron DeSantis lifted the state’s moratorium in October. According to the state courts administrator, almost 48,000 evictions have been filed in the state since the pandemic began.

“But we also know the landlords have a business to run and in many cases, they’re losing money,” said Patterson.

When asked what Patterson thought about the federal judge’s ruling towards the CDC, he said they will follow the law as it’s set and defined by the legislature.

“The fact of the matter is, only the legislature can make laws, not a regulatory agency,” said Patterson.

Patterson said if the ruling stays in effect, it’ll open the courthouse doors for more cases.

“More evictions and less impediments, or some people would say protections to those that are renting,” said Patterson.

The moratorium was extended through the end of June by the Biden administration.

According to the Associated Press, the Justice Department said it would appeal the ruling from the U.S. District Court and there likely won’t be any immediate impact on the ban.

We also reached out to several landlords, realtors, and attorneys on Wednesday, but did not hear back.

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