NAA Files Lawsuit to Recover Eviction Moratorium Losses
For nearly a year, the CDC’s eviction moratorium effectively halted evictions for any tenant who hadn’t paid rent. With the decisions by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals and more recently by the Supreme Court of the United States, that CDC Order has been ruled unenforceable and is all but eradicated.
However, we all know that its long-term effects will not be resolved so easily. While the mental and physical toll caused by the moratorium is difficult to quantify, the loss of income and monetary damages can be reasonably calculated.
The U.S. Constitution protects owners of private property, providing that no “private property [shall] be taken for public use, without just compensation.” The CDC went to great lengths in its Order (and their extensions) to explain the basis of their action – to prevent transmission of the COVID-19 virus. But even these important goals cannot justify the means by which the CDC attempted to accomplish them.
That is where the National Apartment Association comes in. On July 27, 2021, the NAA filed a lawsuit with a handful of other Plaintiffs seeking compensation for the monetary losses caused by enforcement of the CDC’s moratorium. NAA continues to invite property owners who have been damaged by the CDC’s eviction moratorium to join in this lawsuit.
All our members have had some experience with misapplication and abuse of the CDC order and the bureaucratic grind that had to be endured in the never-ending pursuit of rental assistance – rental assistance that was meant to soften the blow of all the eviction delays. While the avenues to rental assistance have opened greatly in the past several weeks, it still doesn’t come close to adequately compensating housing ownership for the damages suffered since last fall. Any members who have suffered monetary losses as a result of the CDC’s order may wish to review NAA’s informational website regarding their eligibility and to determine what the next steps are if they decide to get involved.
The process in the final determination of this lawsuit has really just begun. At present, there is no way to tell what portions of the case will ever go to trial, what portions might be determined without the need for a trial, and when any necessary trial might take place. There may come a time when the individual plaintiffs in the case must prove their damages and/or other facts related to their respective claims.
Of course, as with any lawsuit, there is no guarantee of success. There are a variety of factors to be considered before the court will determine the government’s legal responsibility for the damages, as well as the amount of any damages that may be awarded. It’s also important to keep in mind that any claims made in this lawsuit should take into account any rental assistance that was received. Furthermore, the specific language of any agreements signed for rental assistance should be carefully reviewed.
Any interested property owners should start by reviewing the information page provided by NAA and carefully weighing their potential involvement in the ongoing lawsuit.