CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - A federal judge in Ohio has ruled that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) exceeded its’ authority when it banned evictions nationwide during the height of the pandemic.
So, what does this really mean? It’s difficult to say at this point because it’s expected that the federal government will appeal the ruling. But several attorneys Cleveland 19 talked to believe the eviction ban no longer applies in Ohio.
If that’s true, it’s unclear if there will be a tidal wave of evictions filed on Ohio renters.
Ralph McGreevy, the Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer for the Northern Ohio Apartment Associations, says, “The court is the last place the landlord wants to be and the last place the tenant wants to be. What they really want to do is to be able to work things out as two people caught in a bad situation. The one thing that I feel really came through during this entire year is that people value their homes, whether it’s an apartment home or a private residence.”
But McGreevy says landlords who own a small number of properties have been hit the hardest by the pandemic and ultimately the eviction ban, “It did affect quite a few people, but our association represents the professional landlords. They’re certainly holding the bag on a lot of money that they will probably never collect. But it’s the smaller landlords who are really in trouble here, with the inability to pay their mortgage and keep their head above water.”
Landlord Monique Moore of Cleveland owns five properties and admits it’s been tough, “Your home is supposed to be your biggest asset, and now it’s our greatest liability.”
Her friend Diane Meriweather, also a landlord from Cleveland, tells Cleveland 19 the moratorium on evictions in place since September of 2020 has financially devastated some landlords. The small business owners are left trying to pay their mortgage, taxes, and utilities when they’re owed thousands in back rent. “Last year, I lost about $20,000. So far this year, I’m probably down by about $8,000.”
Meriweather, who owns a number of properties, including a home on the east side, says she has tenants who not only owe rent but thousands in water and sewer bills, and as a landlord, she’s left holding the bag. “I had one bill the lady never paid $2500, so I’ve got to come up with that money, but then remember I’m not making any money.”
The Justice Department previously said the eviction ban remains in place in Texas after one court said the CDC’s eviction ban was unconstitutional. They also vowed to appeal. There is no word on if they will appeal the ruling in Ohio.