Rep. Duncan Introduces the Restore the Rights of Property Owners Under the Eviction Moratorium Issued by the CDC Act

June 28, 2021
Press Release

Washington D.C. - Today, in response to the Centers for Disease Control renewing the legally suspect moratorium on evictions, Congressman Jeff Duncan introduced the Restore the Rights of Property Owners under the Eviction Moratorium Issued by the CDC Act of 2021. This bill will nullify the order issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention titled “Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions to Prevent the Further Spread of COVID-19.”

“The CDC does not, and should not, have the authority to restrict the property rights of landlords," Duncan said. “The CDC is an agency that has no expertise in housing issues and therefore should not issue rulings on housing. This clear lack of understanding of the issue at hand is apparent in its total disregard of the Constitution. Individual property rights have always been regulated at the state level since they do not involve interstate commerce. Even a federal district court has upheld this notion, but unfortunately, we have yet to see the eviction moratorium nullified.”

This legislation will restore the ability of landlords to enforce their lease agreements and collect the rent they have been owed for the last 10 months. “Contrary to popular belief, many landlords are working- or middle-class Americans, and this unconstitutional eviction moratorium have left them in a financial mess,” Duncan added. “Sadly, landlords were not afforded the same moratorium for their mortgage on their properties. We must end the CDC’s halt on evictions and prevent its further implementation to avoid another rental crisis down the line when landlords can no longer keep their properties.”

The bill has the support of the National Association of Residential Property Managers, REALTORS, and the South Carolina Apartment Association. It is also supported by seven original cosponsors, all Republicans: Lauren Boebert (CO), Ted Budd (NC), Diana Harshbarger (TN), Fred Keller (PA), Ralph Norman (SC), Greg Steube (FL), and Randy Weber (TX).

Background:

On September 4th, 2020, in an unprecedented move, the CDC issued a national eviction moratorium that sets fines up to half a million dollars for evicting a tenant. The Biden Administration has since extended this moratorium through July 31st; however, there is little preventing this order from being extended further without action from Congress.

While the stated purpose of this order is to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, evidence of its efficacy is suspect. Homeless shelters are under strict safety guidelines, and many individuals who are evicted from their homes end up staying with individuals they are already in regular contact with, such as friends and family.

Many proponents of the halt in evictions do not view COVID-19 transmission as the primary goal of the eviction moratorium and instead cite financial difficulty stemming from the economic fallout of the pandemic and subsequent response. While it is true that many people were out of work due to shuttering businesses or could not work due to closed schools and childcare services, Congress, as well as many of the States, provided billions of dollars in COVID-19 relief to help Americans make ends meet. Furthermore, businesses are currently begging for people to come back to work, and every school district in the country should be back to in-person learning.