The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last month issued an order barring landlords from evicting any person covered by the order from a residential property for failure to pay rent. The measure followed an executive order issued by President Donald Trump in early August that instructed public health officials to consider measures to temporarily halt evictions.
Individual landlords from four states — Georgia, New Jersey, South Carolina and Virginia — and a trade association representing owners and managers of rental housing in all 50 states filed a lawsuit challenging the order. The inability to evict tenants who aren't paying rent is causing them irreparable harm, they argue, and they asked the court to prohibit the enforcement of the order while the lawsuit is pending.
The lawsuit, filed in Atlanta where the CDC is located, is one of several across the country challenging the agency's order.
US District Judge J.P. Boulee on Tuesday heard arguments from lawyers for the landlords and the government during a video hearing. He asked few questions and did not indicate when he might rule on the request.
The CDC order, which took effect Sept. 4 and runs through the end of the year, was issued just as other coronavirus-related eviction bans were expiring. The agency argued that bans are an effective tool for preventing the spread of the coronavirus.
“They do so by facilitating self-isolation for sick and high-risk persons, easing implementation of stay-at-home orders and social distancing measures, reducing the need for congregate housing, and helping to prevent homelessness,” the government said in a court filing.