The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) protracted moratorium is financially damaging rental housing owners and violating rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
The CDC’s order was first issued in September 2020 and was extended several times, which harms the rental housing industry, jeopardizes the long-term viability of housing and sets a dangerous precedent for future disaster-response measures. Review our filed complaint.
Apartment owners have an opportunity to attempt to recover business losses attributed to the unlawful CDC eviction moratorium. The National Apartment Association filed a lawsuit against the federal government seeking compensation for the financial damages suffered under the CDC order. For more information about this story, read the NAA Sues Federal Government to Recover Industry's Losses Under Nationwide Eviction Moratorium article.
This lawsuit is open to all rental housing owners operating in a state or locality under the federal moratorium who have been damaged by the CDC eviction moratorium. Check eligibility below.
Litigation is a lengthy process. No one can predict the length of any specific litigation, although most complex cases take significantly more than a year to complete. Among the factors that will influence this case are the number of plaintiffs, the nature of the legal rulings, the number of appeals from the trial court rulings, if any, and the complexity of the damage calculations.
It is impossible to predict whether the case will go to trial. It is possible that certain key issues in the case could be decided by legal rulings in the government’s favor, in which case there would be no trial. It also is possible that certain key issues could be decided in favor of plaintiff rental housing owners, which would narrow the scope of any trial but still require a trial to determine plaintiffs’ damages. If there is ultimately a trial, each plaintiff would be required to prove the amount of damages it suffered as a result of the moratorium and may need to prove other facts.
There are expenses associated with lawsuits that are separate from the time and work of the lawyers involved. These expenses can include court costs and filing fees, court reporters, expenses associated with third-party vendors, and a variety of other costs. An initial cost deposit of $1,000 for each plaintiff will be used toward any general litigation expenses. Additional costs may be assessed on a pro rata basis. At the conclusion of the lawsuit, any unspent funds will be returned, again on a pro rata basis. It is likely that the greatest potential cost associated with the lawsuit will be for the retention of a litigation consulting firm, EPIQ, to manage the increasing number of plaintiffs as they join the lawsuit. Another potential cost associated with the lawsuit will be for the retention of one or more expert witnesses. Each plaintiff will bear the cost of any expert work associated with proving its case and damages. (Alternatively, the expert witness fees may be assessed to all plaintiffs on a pro rata basis.) It is impossible to estimate the amount of those expenses at this time.
There is a risk that the case will be unsuccessful and that you will have diverted valuable employee resources (particularly in the area of damage calculation) without reward. There is a risk of spending money on litigation expenses without reward. Companies should also be aware that as a result of the contingent fee, any recovery they ultimately achieve will be reduced by 20% paid to the attorneys.
Any rental property owner who was damaged by the CDC eviction moratorium can join the case. However, if you have properties in states or other locales that enacted more stringent eviction restrictions than those imposed by the CDC, you will not be able to participate in this lawsuit with respect to those properties. These states include but are not limited to:
- Washington, D.C.
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- Rhode Island
There will be no recovery unless the court finds that the government is legally responsible for providing compensation resulting from the moratorium. If there is such a finding, how much any plaintiff can recover will depend upon the amount of the financial loss suffered and a variety of other factors, including whether the loss was offset by funds received from other sources. In some instances, some rental assistance programs have required recipients to waive any claims they may have to collect unpaid funds.
NAA's Efforts Against the Eviction Moratorium
Since the onset of the pandemic, NAA has aggressively advocated to protect the interests of the rental housing industry:
- NAA called out the dangers and short-sightedness of eviction moratoria and asked for its sunset to both the 116th and 117th Congresses, in meetings with both White House administrations and across all levels of media.
- NAA is among the first to take legal action challenging the CDC’s authority last September and continues to support ongoing legal challenges.
- With the meter on rent debt still running, political will waning and Congress moving past COVID-relief measures, NAA is putting up the greatest fight yet and asking the courts for two things – fair compensation for damages suffered under the unlawful CDC order and an assurance that the federal government can never do this again.
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