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Federal judge ruling could prevent future eviction moratoriums

Brazos County leaders comment on the issue
Posted at 4:51 PM, May 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-07 09:56:34-04

BRAZOS COUNTY, TX — A federal judge ruled yesterday that the Center for Disease Control [CDC] and Public Health Service Act do not have the authority to enforce an eviction moratorium. This ruling could have some significant implications for the future of American property managers and tenants.

The ruling comes from Washington, D.C . District Judge Dabney Friedrich, who said the CDC overstepped when extending the eviction moratorium. The extension is an executive order originally signed by former President Trump in August, extended again by President Joe Biden earlier this year.

The U.S. Department of Justice has appealed Judge Friedrich’s ruling. Brazos County Judge Duane Peters weighed in on the decision.

"You shouldn’t go out and just do a broad sweeping moratorium without regard to all the issues that are involved," commented Peters.

Peters argues that barring property owners from evicting renters could be financially draining, particularly for small-scale property owners who rely on tenants’ rent checks to pay their own bills.

"Maybe if you couldn’t evict somebody - maybe it was because they weren’t able to pay their bills because of COVID-19," he said. "[But what if] it was because there was criminal activity, and you needed to get them out of there because they were causing problems with others?"

Peters said the Brazos Valley Council of Governments does offer rental assistance, and the county is working to assure that anyone struggling to pay rent because of the pandemic is cared for.

Twin City Mission in Bryan offers rental assistance as well. Jennifer Young, Twin City's homeless and housing director of operations, noted that some people may still struggle when the moratorium is lifted.

“I think it’s definitely going to hurt a lot of people," she said. "I know it’s hard on landlords too, and they’re trying to collect rent and take care of business on their side. But I do feel like it will put a lot of families and individuals in a very tough spot.”

Regardless of the federal case, the moratorium is scheduled to expire on June 30.

To see if you qualify for the Brazos Emergency Rental Assistance Program, read here!