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Landlords claim CDC eviction moratorium is hurting them

Posted at 10:48 AM, Apr 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-06 11:00:37-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Landlords across the country are saying the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s eviction moratorium that was recently extended to protect tenants struggling to make rent is starting to hurt them.

For this reason, a civil organization is filing lawsuits against the CDC.

Getting rid of the CDC eviction moratorium is what John Vecchione has been working on for months. He's leading the effort for the New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA), and he filed a class action lawsuit in mid-march.

Last September, the CDC issued an order stopping evictions nationwide, though some states had implemented their own. The CDC measure is extended until June 30.

Officials said the measure is to prevent further spread of COVID-19, and doesn't relieve a tenant of any obligation to pay rent or comply with obligations of their lease.

Vecchione said it's not a question of the CDC moratorium being good policy, his agency contends the CDC doesn't have the power to do that.

So far, courts in Texas, Tennessee and Ohio have agreed with NCLA. However, a court in Georgia, supported the CDC's measure, and they have since filed an appeal.

Vecchione said in Virginia, landlords are finding help in the state's Rent Relief Program.

Central Virginia Legal Aid Society (CVLAS) Attorney Janae Craddock said landlords and tenants can still get help that way.

"The rent relief program is able to cover rent for up to 15 months, so it's definitely something that both landlords and tenants can should take advantage of because, like I said, it's not a loan. It is it is money in place to keep people housed during this during this unprecedented time we're living in," said Craddock.

Vecchione said, "A lot of my clients aren't in Virginia, though. I have one who is and he is doing that. But most states just leave it to the tenants. Once the tenants aren't getting evicted and aren't paying rent, there's sort of a moral hazard there whereby you kind of see what people are made of."

Vecchione added, "Some people do everything possible to get the landlord paid, some people don't do anything. Then the landlord still has to provide heat and water and keep the property up and pay the taxes, but they're not getting rent."

Landlords can access the program through VHDA.com.