A Smorgasbord of Rental Takings Cases

By: Michael M. Berger
– Daily Journal

Manatt appellate Senior Counsel Michael Berger authored an article for Daily Journal on Congress not extending a moratorium on evictions of residential tenants who had ceased paying rent amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent legal implications. Berger noted that the “Congressional failure” prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to take it upon itself to extend the moratorium, which has resulted in a veritable smorgasbord of lawsuits challenging such moratoria in California and elsewhere. Litigation is pending against similar eviction moratoria declared by the federal government (the CDC), the State of California and the City of Los Angeles. “When the CDC extended that moratorium, it also enlarged it. Concluding that an eviction moratorium ‘can be an effective public health measure . . . to prevent the spread of communicable disease,’ the CDC order is not limited to properties receiving the benefit of federal money, but applies to essentially all residential rental properties nationwide,” Berger wrote. “Violation of the CDC order can result in penalties in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

He concluded by noting that the Supreme Court held only two months ago that one of the most important aspects of property ownership is the right to exclude others. How that concept interacts with laws mandating that landlords allow tenants to occupy their property rent-free (or at least substantially deferred) will be interesting to see.

Daily Journal subscribers can read the full article here.



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