ARLINGTON, VA | September 18, 2020 – The National Apartment Association (NAA) today joined the New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA) in their lawsuit challenging the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) national eviction moratorium. The CDC’s overreaching order directly harms the apartment industry and jeopardizes the long-term viability of rental housing. Rental housing providers, especially small “mom-and-pop” owners, do not have the ability to absorb delinquent rent and still pay their bills required to keep communities operational and Americans in their apartment homes.
The suit, Richard Lee Brown, et al. v. Secretary Alex Azar, et al., argues that rental housing providers have been irreparably damaged by the CDC order and its unwarranted overreach. Federal agencies do not have powers to waive state laws and the CDC has encroached on private property rights with no legal authority. Under the order, many rental housing providers are unable to collect rent, including rental debt, which limits the ability to pay taxes, mortgages, insurance and utilities and provide contracted services to other residents who have paid their rent.
“Eviction moratoria saddle the apartment industry solely with the responsibility of offering a service without compensation, all while operating at a potential deficit,” said NAA President & CEO Bob Pinnegar. “Rental housing works on extremely narrow margins and, though last paid themselves, owners still need to pay extensive bills.”
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, NAA has called for direct rental assistance, which is the only policy that keeps people housed and directly addresses the needs of owners and operators alike. Despite continued calls for this much needed relief from a chorus of voices, including renter advocates and real estate groups, Congress has failed to enact direct rental assistance. This inaction, paired with the CDC eviction moratorium, devastates the industry in the short-term and furthers the housing affordability crisis, to the detriment of the broader economy in the long-term.
“A nationwide eviction moratorium without any kind of financial or direct rental assistance will exacerbate the nation’s housing affordability crisis and reverberate into national, state and local economies,” Pinnegar said. “If owners and operators cannot pay their bills – including apartment staff payroll, taxes, mortgages and insurance – rental units lose financial viability and money stops flowing to other sectors of the economy. Further, many rental housing units may be permanently lost from our already insufficient housing stock, whether by foreclosure, government liens or even the sale of the property.”
The rental housing industry should not be held solely responsible for solving our nation’s housing crisis, which has been exacerbated in this pandemic, and government agencies should not trade one crisis for another.
The National Apartment Association (NAA) serves as the leading voice and preeminent resource through advocacy, education and collaboration on behalf of the rental housing industry. As a federation of 152 affiliates, NAA encompasses over 85,000 members representing more than 10 million apartment homes globally. NAA believes that rental housing is a valuable partner in every community that emphasizes integrity, accountability, collaboration, community responsibility, inclusivity and innovation. To learn more, visit www.naahq.org.