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Housing Evictions to resume in many courts including Toledo Municipal Court

By La Prensa Staff

 

April 1, 2021: Citing a federal appeals court decision, Toledo Municipal Court judges will again allow landlords with a court decision to evict a tenant, a practice that had been halted because of the coronavirus pandemic. But not every municipal court in Ohio or Michigan are following the federal decision.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had just issued a new administrative directive extending a nationwide eviction moratorium through June 30, when the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the CDC had overstepped its authority under the Public Health Service Act. The federal decision affects courts in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Michigan.

Under Toledo Municipal Court rules, for example, landlords must file a so-called notice to proceed with eviction in Housing Court if they wish to proceed with an eviction halted under the moratorium for nonpayment of rent. The landlord must then purchase and the civil court bailiff will contact the landlord to schedule the physical eviction.

Like Toledo, Hamilton County Municipal Court in Cincinnati is honoring the federal court decision. But municipal courts in Cleveland and Columbus have yet to comply.

The moratorium on evictions was originally part of a law passed by Congress in March 2020 as a protective measure during the COVID-19 pandemic. After the moratorium expired at the end of July 2020, the CDC ordered a new moratorium and has extended the eviction ban twice since.

This moratorium shielded renters from eviction if they earned less than $99,000 and also had lost income during the pandemic and were further likely to become homeless if evicted. The CDC cited the emergence of COVID-19 variants in the U.S., studies on the impacts that evictions have on housing, migration and homelessness across state lines, and made findings that its action would directly mitigate the further spread of COVID-19.

In a Tennessee case brought by landlords and property owners, the federal appeals court disagreed.

To date, the federal moratorium has kept hundreds of tenants in their rental units and stopped landlords from even threatening an eviction when they fall behind on rent. To qualify, tenants must seek government rental assistance and prove they've made their best effort to pay.

Housing court officials locally are urging renters to check the “Resources for Tenants” tab at its website www.toledohousingcourt.org for more details about their rights and responsibilities, as well as information about legal aid and fair housing agencies.

Meantime, the Justice Dept. is pursuing appeals in two federal appeals court cases—in Texas and Tennessee-- that struck down the CDC’s eviction ban, but court observers and many academics give the Biden administration little chance of reviving the moratorium on its current legal arguments.

Complicating matters further, a federal judge in Cleveland also struck down the CDC eviction ban, but Justice Dept. guidance states, for now, that court decision only affects the plaintiffs and defendants for now. Judge J. Philip Calabrese of the United States District Court of Northern Ohio ruled in early March that the CDC “exceeded the scope of its authority by adopting and enforcing a nationwide eviction moratorium.” Municipal courts across Northeast Ohio now are split in how they’re handling the eviction ban based on the outcome of that case.

In that federal lawsuit filed in Cleveland, a Northeast Ohio landlord, the National Association of Homebuilders and a multi-unit apartment complex operator in Toledo joined forces to challenge the CDC moratorium and won.

 

 

 
Copyright © 1989 to 2021 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 04/06/21 20:30:17 -0700.

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