Texas Ruling Only Applies to Specific Plaintiffs in the Suit
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) moratorium on evicting renters impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic remains in effect in Arizona and across the U.S. despite a Texas Federal District Court judge’s ruling that the protection is unconstitutional, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC).
The ruling by U.S. District Judge J. Campbell Baker in Terkel v. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention only applies to the specific plaintiffs in the suit “and has no impact on other renters,” said Cynthia Zwick, executive director of the anti-poverty organization Wildfire. “The suit was not brought as a class action, meaning that the district court decision is not binding on any other landlords, tenants or courts.”
In filing a notice of appeal, the U.S. Justice Department announced that “the moratorium remains in effect.” Without an extension, the moratorium is scheduled to end on March 31
Three other Federal district court judges in Georgia, Louisiana and Ohio have issued rulings rejecting claims by landlords that the moratorium was unlawful or unconstitutional.
“The CDC eviction moratorium provides vital protections for struggling renters during the pandemic, and is an essential public health measure,” Zwick said. “Evictions put lives at risk and strain our already overstretched public health system. We all have a stake in ensuring that tens of millions of renters don’t lose their homes.”
The Census Bureau reports that nearly one in five renters are behind in their rents, with the numbers disproportionately high among Black and Latinx renters. Congress has approved $25 billion in emergency rental assistance and is expected to approve another $20 billion.
“The CDC’s eviction moratorium has helped stop the spread of COVID-19, but the recent Texas ruling adds more confusion to an already stressful time,” said Joan Serviss, Executive Director of the Arizona Housing Coalition. “What we really need is Congress to put an end to these disputes and pass meaningful rental assistance to scale with the crisis.”
“The $1.9 trillion aid package that the U.S. House of Representatives passed includes $26 billion in additional emergency rental assistance, among multiple forms of housing-related support,” she added.
Wildfire is coordinating efforts to distribute funding to qualifying renters. For information about qualifications, go here.
About Wildfire: Wildfire is a growing movement to end poverty. We advocate for fair practices. We collaborate on policy issues. We support community action initiatives. Beyond easing the effects of poverty, our efforts aim to ignite lasting change: to stop poverty before it starts. This is advocacy in action for an Arizona where all may thrive. For more information visit wildfireaz.org.
About the Arizona Housing Coalition: The Arizona Housing Coalition (AZHC) is a collaborative association that leads in the efforts to end homelessness and advocates for safe, affordable homes for all Arizonans. AZHC takes positions on policy and regulatory changes and bills at the state and national levels that affect the development of affordable housing and that affect those experiencing homelessness and housing instability. For more information visit azhousingcoalition.org.