Ohio Federal Judge Rules CDC Exceeded Authority with Eviction Ban; Similar Ruling in Texas Finds CDC Ban “Unconstitutional”

Cuyahoga County Courthouse
A statue of Alexander Hamilton in front of the Cuyahoga County Courthouse in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo credit ShutterStock.com, licensed.

CUYAHOGA COUNTY, OH – An Ohio judge has ruled that a current federal eviction ban issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention exceeds the agency’s authority, according to reports. With the ongoing pandemic, everyone has been feeling the financial pinch as the damage done to the economy has left millions out of work; however, few are feeling it as acutely as landlords due to multiple eviction moratoriums filed on both the state and federal level, preventing any evictions based on money problems related to COVID-19.

The most far-reaching of these eviction moratoriums is one issued by the CDC, which was originally signed into law by former President Donald Trump in September and extended until the end of March by President Joe Biden.

The CDC eviction ban – backed by the Public Health Service Act – argues that rendering people homeless during a pandemic can help spread COVID, and the end result is that landlords – many of whom are small mom-and-pop operations with finite resources – are being forced to provide room and board for tenants free of charge for months and months at a time.

A small measure of potential relief arrived on Thursday, as U.S. District Judge J. Philip Calabrese of Ohio ruled that the CDC exceeded its authority – and the provisions of the Public Health Service Act – when it issued its eviction moratorium. Calabrese stopped short of granting an injunction to halt the CDC from enforcing the moratorium, however, the possibility of issuing one in the near future remains.

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The lawsuit was brought against the CDC by the National Association of Homebuilders (NAH) and a group of Ohio property owners.

“Saddling landlords with the responsibility to provide free rent during this pandemic ignores their financial obligations and ability to provide safe, decent and affordable housing,” said NAH chairman Chuck Fowke. “Even during emergencies, federal agencies must abide by the law.”

Two weeks ago, an Eastern Texas judge ruled that the CDC moratorium was unconstitutional; the Justice Department is currently appealing that decision.

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