Housing Policy

Should Taxpayers Be on the Hook for All Rental Debt Accrued During the Pandemic?

A new lawsuit from landlords argues that the CDC's eviction moratorium was a taking, and that they're entitled to compensation.


Landlords are arguing in a new lawsuit that the federal government's eviction moratorium is an uncompensated taking of their property. A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision might see them succeed.

On Tuesday, a group of large rental housing owners and the National Apartment Association (NAA), a trade association, filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims demanding compensation for the rental income they've lost during the pandemic.

Their lawsuit says that the eviction moratorium imposed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)—which bars the removal of nonpaying tenants who sign declarations of financial hardship—forced them to house delinquent renters in lieu of tenants who could pay their bills.

That, they say, represents a seizure of their property under the Fifth Amendment's Takings Clause, and that they are therefore entitled to just compensation.

"Plaintiffs seek just compensation for the deprivation of their property rights and the value of the property taken or illegally exacted by the Government," reads the complaint. "This includes the amount of rental income Plaintiffs would have received in the absence of the physical occupation and taking or exaction of their property and property rights under and as a direct result of the CDC [eviction moratorium]."

"Even with the amount of money that Congress has authorized, it's not enough to cover the rent debt that is out there," says Bob Pinnegar, president of the NAA. "It's obvious that the federal government does not have the political will to authorize more dollars."

The COVID-19 relief bills passed in December 2020 and March 2021 included $46 billion in funding for emergency rental relief—the rollout of which has been painstakingly slow in some states. The NAA estimates on its website that there's another $26 billion in rental debt not covered by those funds.

"Ultimately we want to see this industry made whole for the burden that's been imposed upon us," says Pinnegar.

Thus far, most lawsuits challenging the federal government's eviction moratorium have focused on whether the CDC overstepped its authority by imposing it. The takings claim made by the NAA and its fellow plaintiffs, and the demands for compensation, are more novel.

That's partly a result of timing, says Ethan Blevins, an attorney with the Pacific Legal Foundation.

"One of the reasons there hasn't been a takings claim to date is that the moratorium isn't over. Damages are accruing as we speak," says Blevins. With the CDC's moratorium set to expire at the end of the month, however, a lawsuit on those grounds now makes more sense.

Helping the NAA's case is a U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Cedar Point Nursery case handed down in June. That decision found that a California law requiring employers to give union organizers access to their property was a taking, and thus entitled those employers to compensation.

"The Supreme Court gave a big boon to challenges to these moratoria on Takings Clause  grounds," said Blevins. "All you have to show is that the government has authorized a temporary invasion of private property and this really does look like that. The CDC moratorium, even though it's temporary, requires landlords to allow a tenant who's in breach of the lease agreement because of nonpayment  to occupy the premises."

The much stickier question is how much compensation the government might actually owe landlords for this taking, as well as how much is fair to ask taxpayers to cover.

The NAA is asking for the government to cover all rent landlords would have been paid in the absence of the CDC's eviction order, which it claims is in excess of the $46 billion already appropriated for rent relief. The lawsuit notes that the CDC has justified its moratorium on the grounds that 30–40 million renters would be at risk of eviction without the agency's protection.

That estimate, published by the Aspen Institute in August 2020, is quite likely overblown. Despite the warnings of advocates, evictions have been below historic averages most everywhere during the pandemic, even in places covered only by the much more limited moratorium imposed by the March 2020–passed Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. (That policy expired in July 2020. The CDC's eviction moratorium went into effect in September.)

That suggests that, in the absence of a federal eviction moratorium, many landlords would still have kept on delinquent tenants who've accumulated thousands in rental arrears. Even if they didn't, their chances of recovering thousands in back rent from former tenants via small claims lawsuits is unlikely.

This is one of the reasons that some state-level landlord groups have been accepting of various state rent relief programs that only cover a portion of rent debt. When California passed a law in January 2020 extending eviction protections while promising to cover 80 percent of the rental debt owed to landlords, housing providers in the state shrugged.

It's "an option that most owners will find acceptable because I think they understand going forward that it will be extremely difficult for a tenant to pay any of that past rent, because in some cases, it's a pretty high bill," Debra Carlton of the California Apartment Association told Reason in February.

The federal eviction moratorium is thus putting taxpayers in a position of potentially having to cover the losses of the rental housing industry that housing providers would have otherwise had to absorb; regardless of what limits on eviction were in place.

That doesn't mean eviction moratoriums are costless.

Pinnegar says that landlords and hard-pressed tenants have generally been able to work out deals during the pandemic, but that eviction moratoriums have enabled some renters to "ghost" landlords trying to figure out an arrangement.

Had we not had a blanket ban on evictions, property owners would have had a lot more discretion to cut deals with good-faith renters and evict bad actors.

As a legal matter, the fact that the eviction moratorium doesn't forgive tenants' obligation to pay rent will also complicate things when determining what compensation the government might owe landlords.

"Technically, tenants are still on the hook [for rent]. One of the government's major arguments [will be] is that where is there's a third party here who still owes this debt, the government is not the correct party to be on the hook for that money," says Blevins.

The NAA filed its lawsuit yesterday. Pinnegar says his organization is prepared to take it all the way up to the Supreme Court.

NEXT: USPS Gets Hit With Lawsuit Over Social Media Snooping

Housing Policy Lawsuits Fifth Amendment Takings Coronavirus Eviction Moratorium

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127 responses to “Should Taxpayers Be on the Hook for All Rental Debt Accrued During the Pandemic?

  1. haha, money printer go brrrrrrrrr

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  2. The employees at the CDC that ordered the eviction moratorium should be personally liable.

    1. That would be nice, but that will not happen.

      To me, the feds made the idiotic rule and caused the ‘taking’. The onus is on them to make the landlords whole.

      1. “To me, the feds made the idiotic rule and caused the ‘taking’. The onus is on them to make the landlords whole.”

        Absolutely, this is clearly a ‘taking’.

      2. And the people actually responsible for this mess walk off scot-free, keeping their jobs and power so that they can cause another mess next year. If they’re not promoted.

      3. and by “them”, you mean the US taxpayers of course….

        1. We’re the ones stupid enough to keep electing politicians who let the CDC do stuff like this, so yeah. It sucks that we taxpayers have to pay for our representatives boneheaded mistakes but it would suck a lot more if we were allowed to offload the consequences of those mistakes on a politically disfavored few.

          1. I doubt any Trump voter had an evection moratorium as the reason they voted for Trump. Same for most other voters.

    2. Sounds more like a rogue agency exceeding it’s legal mandate.
      It should be disbanded and its officers charged and tried.

      1. The constitution really should have had some penalty written into it for violating it.

        1. Sure. I’m sure “The violation for breaking an oath of office is death, the rights of the people shall not be infringed.” wouldn’t be twisted/selectively interpretted at all. We’d have executed Trump for the quid pro quo that Biden perpetrated.

          1. “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” – John Adams

            1. That explains why the left can live with the Constitution.

    3. ^YES; THIS…. Politicians and Bureaucrats aren’t above the law.

    4. lol, the CDC is private like the Fed. It was a suggestion not enforceable by law. Worse part is everyone will pay higher rent and they will bail out the people who just refused to pay.

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  3. And every state criminal statute is a taking. I don’t get how they distinguish these laws from the less burdensome regulations.

    1. Takings from every state criminal statute occur after due process.

    2. “And every state criminal statute is a taking…”

      Pretty sure pod posts here to prove how stupid he is. Maybe, if they let him get out of the 6th grade this year, he’ll learn what “taking” is. Maybe…

    3. Ohhh sullum you never stop your stupidity

    4. Goddamn son.

    5. I favor a reparations program. Democrats paying Americans for what they’ve done to us.

      1. Genius. Would even cover slavery and segregation as well.

  4. NO! The people renting the housing should pay for the services they received.

    1. “NO! The people renting the housing should pay for the services they received.”

      You can’t get blood out of a turnip and you won’t get someone working at $12/hour to pay an accrued bill of $10K+. They’ll just walk away from it.

      1. Who is renting a place by themselves at $12/hr? They can walk away and landlords can take them to court to get the rent owed.
        The sad part is that with the enhanced unemployment and the stimulus checks they had even more money than when they were working. It would be interesting to find out how many in that situation took the moral path and paid their rent.
        The consequences of what occurred is fewer rentals will be available. And for folks that do walk away scot free, they may have challenges finding someone willing to rent to them in the future if they honestly represent their choices.

        1. These people won’t think that far ahead and some will end up in tent cities.

          1. As Dr. Phil has said, “When you choose the behavior, you choose the consequences.”

        2. Far too many of them are month to month sorts of people. It is doubtful any banked those unpaid rents even if they had the income.

          No, IF they even had the income it was spent elsewhere, most likely lifestyle – new TV, phone, wardrobe, take out meals, better booze, etc…

        3. The Democrats plan could be to make landlords whole, using Federal tax dollars from now on. For whatever reason they cancel the rent, betting on a SCOTUS bailout decision. A federal public housing system in perpetuity that is really ( wink wink) private. They’re paying off both voting constituencies.

      2. Should have been evicted on the first month’s non-pay.

        1. Except the government put a halt to all efforts to evict anyone.

      3. They had a year of enhanced UI paying them the equivalent of 15 an hour. Why are you defending dead beats?

        1. In what way is saying you can’t get money out of somebody who doesn’t have it “defending dead beats”?

  5. Had we not had a blanket ban on evictions, property owners would have had a lot more discretion to cut deals with good-faith renters and evict bad actors.

    Gawd forbid that adults should simply try to work out their differences as individuals rather than groups. Once again, governmental busibodies (redundant, I know) have made things worse in the name of “fairness” and “equity”. Is there a pattern starting to become apparent?

    1. Yep. But think of the JOBS for implementing the government stuff!

    2. Landlords are legally prevented from “cutting deals with good faith renters”, due to Fair Housing regulations.

      1. And there you have it! Looping back on itself and providing yet another example of GroundTruth’s First Law of Government: One bad law begets another three bad laws in an attempt to fix the original bad law.

  6. Should Taxpayers Be on the Hook for All Rental Debt Accrued During the Pandemic?

    Why not? Taxpayers are on the hook for every other effin’ thing!

  7. There should never have been a moratorium. If the government thought it critical they could have just subsidized the rent for everyone who couldn’t work because of the pandemic to the same degree. As it is, there are plenty of renters who were working and living in nicer places who just stopped paying because they could.

    1. One of the biggest frauds ever. They didn’t have to work and didn’t pay rent although many were making g more than than before. A massive windfall and grift.

      1. Incentivized. If government pays you to stay home and makes it possible to not pay rent, most will avail themselves of any and every opportunity. Yes, the government exceeded their scope and mission [If the CDC can decide, based on the health needs of the community, to mandate free rent, they can do pretty much anything] and naturally taxpayers are on the hook for it.

    2. What galls me in all this are the people who deliberately racked up the back rent and won’t be forced to pay it.

      It’s the same issue as the student debt relief. It actively punishes people who did what they were supposed to do while benefiting layabouts who were as reckless as possible with their money.

      1. ” It actively punishes people who did what they were supposed to do while benefiting layabouts who were as reckless as possible with their money.”

        Exactly, it pays off the grasshoppers using the ants hard earned assets.

  8. The Supremes won’t touch this with a 10-foot pole.

    1. Overreach by a government agency, trillions of more dollars owed as a result, being forced to decide if the government has exceeded it’s authority…case of the century? There is already diversity among the lower courts over this [but not much].

      1. You’re not getting it. Roberts won’t touch it because he doesn’t want to rock the boat. Guy is spineless.

        1. Robert’s would have been awesome if he had the guts to strike down Obamacare, among other things. It would have been better if such a ruling would have been accompanied with the new catchphrase “eat it bitches”.

  9. Step one: The government steps in and screws the people out of money.
    Step two: The government is found guilty of a taking, and compensation is ordered.

    Step three: Same as step one.

    1. Different set of people.

      I will agree that the government should compensate landlords for the taking, and THEN clawback the money from any tenants found to have committed perjury on the paperwork they used to avoid paying rent.

      1. Oh I think that the government should definitely pay the landlords back. I merely meant to point out that the government NEVER pays for its mistakes. The people do. I am also inclined to believe that the government would spend at least twice the amount of money on their lawyers trying to get the money from fraudulent rent-avoiders than it would ever receive from them.

    2. I think people are finally waking up to the realization that a few million dead leftists might be well worth it to put and end to this madness.

  10. There is no question the government should be on the hook for renters that cannot be forced to pay.

    And for those who took advantage of the moment to just stop paying, there is little chance they will have the assets to pay. Say it averages two grand a month for a year… These deadbeats are not going to have $25 grand laying around.

    Call it what you want, taking, unfunded mandate, illegal order… The fact remains that these businesses were directly harmed and there is a direct financial consequence.

  11. If government simply seized all of the inventory at a grocery store or a hardware store, it would be hard to argue that the store shouldn’t be compensated.

    That anyone would dispute that the same is true when the government forces housing providers to provide for free is evidence of the public’s economic ignorance.

    When do we get to see a true accounting of the amount of social welfare in America today? An accounting that includes all of the free stuff being provided as a consequence of eviction moratoriums and other similar policies?

    1. Health care is a “human right.”

      Ergo, income, housing, food…it all follows. Add entertainment and you have the dole and the circus.

      1. Entertainment is in the infrastructure “Trillions DEAL” as broadband expansion

    2. How dare you be against Free Stuff!

  12. CDC Moratorium, a.k.a,, Bankruptcy Court and Lawyers Full Employment Act

    1. The Law School Industrial Complex.

  13. The fun will undoubtedly continue since the government seems to be gearing up for a new set of lockdowns. (And of course it’s just a coincidence that this will occur during midterms…)

    1. How popular would lockdowns be?

    2. They keep this up and we are going to have to shoot our way out.

      Sullum will no doubt wet the bed just reading this.

    3. Needs moar mail in ballots!

  14. There should be more than enough to pay all lost rent by eliminating the CDC and Dept. of Education. If that isn’t enough, TSA next, then a 100% tax on contributions to democrats.

    1. Best notion of the day.

    2. The CDC’s budget for 2018 was only about $12B, so that’s definitely not going to cover it. Looks like we’re probably going to make it down into the TSA’s budget, though I might suggest tapping the DEA first instead.

  15. Ife the government sees fit to allow tenants to live rent free, the government should pay landlords the rent due. Seems simple to me. Then let the government get the money out of the tenants. I see no moral justification for landlords as individuals to finance the housing of tenants. Do we make grocery chains pay for food for poor people?

    Of course, if you don’t agree, then there should never have been a rent moratorium. We don’t tax doctors to pay for health care, and we don’t tax lawyers to pay for free legal representation.

    1. “we don’t tax lawyers to pay for free legal representation”, actually mandatory pro bono is often a requirement of admission to various courts.

      But I agree with the larger point that it’s a taking by the government.

      1. “mandatory pro bono”

        Pretty sure the proper term for that is “tax.”

        1. Pretty sure the proper term for that is “forced labor in violation of the 13th Amendment”

  16. We got a whole greek alphabet to get through here and midterms are next year, so let’s get cracking on the fear.

  17. If the answer is yes, then what about the people who were prohibited from working? Isn’t that a taking?

    1. They got unemployment compensation.

  18. Interesting the the government is willing to force private business to do the job the government sees as it own duty. Bizarre. But now My frigging money is at risk. The bastards who set this up are or should be held accountable. Unconscionable government overstepping.

    1. “No man’s life, liberty or property are safe while the Legislature is in session.”
      Saying quoted by Gideon J. Tucker, Surrogate, in 1866 report of the final accounting in the estate of A. B. New York Surrogate Reports, 1 Tucker (N. Y. Surr.) 249 (1866).

    2. I’m just fine with organ harvesting all the shitbags who made this happen.

  19. not just landlords, but many small businesses, particularly restaurants were not permitted to use their indoor space. That similarly constitutes a taking under this same theory.

    1. All too true; but who cares?
      Those business are now gone forever, and left are the giant corporations that back the fascists.

      1. Or the Chineese who bought the property.

    2. That’s because it was/is a temporary/permanent emergency.

  20. A new lawsuit from landlords argues that the CDC’s eviction moratorium was a taking, and that they’re entitled to compensation.

    They’re correct.

    1. Disagree. Investing is risky, no matter which investment vehicle you prefer. The feds fuck up markets all the time. Can I get taxpayers to make me whole on my Fossil Fuel or coal equipment investments?

  21. Donald Trump and Joe Biden should be on the hook personally, each for their own part of this illegal taking.

    1. ^YES; Plus the Vote Talley Congressmen. Break the People’s Law over you – suffer the consequences.

  22. “as well as how much is fair to ask taxpayers to cover.”

    How about all of it? If the public thought that it was a worthwhile thing to impose, then the public can #^^&% well pay for it.

    1. The public doesn’t control the CDC…
      Problem #1!

      The CDC is UN-Constitutional for reasons that were obvious to the founding fathers, and reasonable citizens — but reasonable gets sold down the river when Power-Mad criminals take over.

  23. Hey look a “pot of *stolen* gold” at the Nazi-Headquarters..
    Everyone leap, fight, and scavenge for their *stolen* gold!!

    Sell your soul to the National Socialists; Because YOU didn’t *earn* that gold; The Nazi’s did. So ask your Nazi-God what ‘gift’ they will bestow upon you.

    It’s all falling apart as it has done in countless other commie countries.

  24. Should Taxpayers Be on the Hook for All Rental Debt Accrued During the Pandemic?

    On paper, sure. The CDC is representing us, acting in our name, after all.

    Except . . . we don’t have any control over it. Democracy is a lie.

    So why *should* I be held liable for this groups actions that I did not agree with, did not authorize, do not condone, and have no way to change anyway?

    1. Federal taxpayers should not be on the hook, that’s called warp speed socialism. An individual signed a contract and entered into an agreement with another individual or company. There is no way the court should allow taxpayers to be on the hook for lost rent.

      The contract stands.

    2. Personally, I’m thinking the solution is a) no taxpayer compensation – no representation, after all – the CDC is declared a rogue agency, outlaw, and beyond the protection of law, and tell the landlords to go get their recompense there.

    3. Democracy is a lie.

      Taxation with representation isn’t that great either.

  25. The government should compensate the landlords.

    Then it should go after the people owing the money, forcing them to pay it down from their income or welfare checks.

  26. As much as I despise the mandate, if renters can sue for prohibition of eviction, what is to stop every industry affected by misregulation from suing the federal government? Can restauranteurs sue for pandemic misregulation? What about all the non-emergency misregulation?

    After all, the government did not actually “take” the property of landlords, even for a period of time. All it did was stupidly, irrationally, offhandedly, pretentiously, and tyrannically prohibit evictions. The renters in theory still “owe” the rent they didn’t pay.

    Now, perhaps the federal government should offer some compensation to those industries hardest hit by pandemic misregulation, or perhaps it should focus on preventing this batshit insane policy-making and offhanded legislation-writing without Congress by unelected bureaucrats. What’s next, will the EPA write a rule banning cars?

    But making every imperfect law into a court case isn’t the way forward.

    1. As much as I despise the mandate, if renters can sue for prohibition of eviction, what is to stop every industry affected by misregulation from suing the federal government?

      Nothing. And hopefully, they can win.

      After all, the government did not actually “take” the property of landlords, even for a period of time.

      That’s exactly what the government did. Tenants had breached their contract and hence could not legally live in their properties anymore. The government “took” those tenants and continued to house them in those properties.

      But making every imperfect law into a court case isn’t the way forward.

      Actually, I think that’s an excellent way forward.

    2. The government absolutely did ‘take’ the property – in the government’s own definition of ‘taking’.

  27. All this did was to defer the rent payments, which keep piling up. And, to no one’s surprise even if the renter goes back to work they will never be able to pay the debt.

    1. Weren’t most of these renters make more on the government dole than before they stopped working?

      Why could they not pay rent out of the government checks?

      What were they doing with the money?

      So many questions.

    2. And, to no one’s surprise even if the renter goes back to work they will never be able to pay the debt.

      Have a court dock 30% of their paycheck.

  28. The renters should be on hook. Otherwise, the U.S. is going to run out of federal taxpayers. Is it down to 40 or 35 percent yet with all the cash for kids kickbacks?

  29. Sadly, yes, taxpayers should probably be on the hook for this. Arguably the deadbeats should be on the hook, but the government decided to stick their nose into it and leave property owners without any option other than to lose money on a unit they couldn’t evict from legally. I.E. a taking through the backdoor, pun intended.

    And maybe, just maybe, if the taxpayer gets it in the end they’ll stop voting for the types of ninny nanny that puts them on the hook for this nonsense.

    I know the ‘taxpayers’ mostly probably didn’t ask for this in the first place, but the politicians certainly did. Unfortunately the only money the elected jerk has to spend is the money of the taxpayer when they decided to start acting like a bull in a china shop.

    Lastly, the government shouldn’t be allowed to order property owners to lose money then when the bill comes due laugh it off and give them the finger. You break it, you buy it, and hopefully they reap the political consequences so maybe future politicians are less inclined to try it.

    1. Nope. Investing in real estate rentals is risky. The federal government puts their hands into all kinds of investments through new laws and regulations.

      Real estate is a RISKY investment. There is no such thing as an investment or a life without RISK.

      1. So really, in short, you’re perfectly fine with the government mandating that property owners have to house non-paying customers in lieu of seeking out customers who will pay. Because this is just a regulatory action, you see.

        Next up: government housing of troops in rental properties, because the 3rd amendment doesn’t apply to ‘investments’.

        1. I’m never fine with executive orders executive power, federal agency power, bans or mandates, ever.

          My state government is a few years away from banning natural gas in areas that get months of overnight temperatures below zero.
          I’m not ok with it. Do I want federal taxpayers to pay for upgrades to my heating system and my new winter $1.5 k a month electric bills. If we’re going to pull in that string, our whole world unravels. I guess we’re all Democrats or Socialists now.

          1. Since property owners certainly are tax payers, they are literally already ‘on the hook’ for the costs of these policies a lot more directly than simply via taxation so really the question answers itself on if tax payers are on the hook: they most certainly are.

            All this amounts to is a quibble over how many taxpayers are going to be on the hook for politicians spurious power grabs, because some of them certainly are as things stand.

            1. how many taxpayers can dance on the head of a fiscal abyss?

  30. A question for libertarians: Which investments are considered risk taking in the private enterprise system ( you can lose it all) then name the investments that should be backed by the full faith and credit of the US taxpayer when investment number 2 goes sideways?

    I’m getting a strange vibe that real estate investment is somehow different from all other forms of investment.

    1. That ‘strange vibe’ you may be feeling are about 250 years of contract law and precedent in the United States that were just tossed in the dumpster to be set on fire.

      1. A good distinction! The investment part (the capital value of the building) might rise or fall, but the rent is a contract with the tenant and is unrelated to the investment risk.

  31. “Should Taxpayers Be on the Hook for All Rental Debt Accrued During the Pandemic?”

    Not if you lost your job and couldn’t pay rent because of local or state wide lock-downs or other requirements that your employer couldn’t afford and had to shut down or cut back. In that case, the state or city (if a mayor had local city level mandates like where I live) should be on the hook. The Fed, via other people’s money, should not be bailing out states that hurt their own economies and their own citizens.

    1. They could have used the unemployment and extra government money to pay the rent.

      What were they doing with the money???

  32. Clearly a taking. I think the plaintiffs need to name the individuals who made that policy decision, and those who implemented it, and include them as defendants in both their proffessional and personal capacities. The relief to be sought against the individuals is for them to be removed from their positions within CDC, and with no pensionis, for refusing to uphold and defend the US Constitution in their official capacities. They all swore an oath to do that, then failed to do so.
    No, firing them and denying them their pensions will not make the landlords whole. that will have to come fromthe employer of these crooked louts, We the People. But at least they’d never be able to serve in a pisition again that has them sucking from the public teat. Such an action against one group of miscreant FedGov operatives MIGHT put others on notice that similar behaviour will bring similar results.
    Did the CDC also prohibit those receiving mortgage payments from these propertyowners from any collection action agasint them for the mortgages being in errears? Of course not.

    Theres should also be strong punitive actions taken agaisnt the CDC poohbahs who steped far outside their authority under law and policy. SInce when does paying ne’s rent fall under the authoirty of the DISEASE control folks? Like Trup once wisely said to some gofballs putting pressure on some group outside their jurisdiction: “stay in your own lane”. That one fits right here.

  33. How about the deadbeats who took advantage of the moratoriums are on the hook for every dollar of rent they didn’t pay? With inflation adjusted interest. And this should not be forgivable under bankruptcy. I know, personal responsibility, a strange concept in the 21st century.

    1. Hell yeah! Exactly!

  34. Why didn’t they just turn off the heat, water, electricity, and cable TV?

    1. There were moratoriums on shutting off all the others except maybe cable. We had decided with our utilities that we would not shut anyone off. But they still owe the money of they didn’t pay.

  35. Any moratorium on rent needs to be accompanied by a moratorium on mortgage payments for rental buildings.

    In my opinion, once the Federal government decided tenants didn’t have to pay rent, the Federal government took on responsibility for those payments.

    1. Mortgages, taxes and insurance.

      People treat landlords as if they have magic pots of gold doubloons down in the basement to go roll in. Most of the ones that I dealt with definitely did not.

  36. I’ll just leave this here.

    “The ordinary progress of a society which increases in wealth, is at all times tending to augment the incomes of landlords; to give them both a greater amount and a greater proportion of the wealth of the community, independently of any trouble or outlay incurred by themselves. They grow richer, as it were in their sleep, without working, risking, or economizing. What claim have they, on the general principle of social justice, to this accession of riches? In what would they have been wronged if society had, from the beginning, reserved the right of taxing the spontaneous increase of rent, to the highest amount required by financial exigencies?”

    John Stuart Mill, Principles of Political Economy

  37. Was it really worth all of the money the government had to put out, and is having to put out, as well as the lives ruined, just to gin up this new seasonal flu into this much of a panic, all to get Donald Trump out of the White House?

  38. The landlords are correct and it should have been illegal. Those that ordered should be prosecuted.

    1. kewl!

      Now do the TSA.

  39. I think the landlords have a problem on the damages issue because just because you cannot “evict” someone, you can still sue them for breach of contract and get money damages and/or a declaration that they are actually in breach.

    Ultimately, I think, cynically, the government is not going to find itself liable for 80 billion dollars. You’d be surprised at the lengths judges seem to go to so that they can protect their paymaster from liability.

    On the other hand, maybe Biden will tell the CDC to default so that he can get 80 billion in new dollars into the economy.

  40. Funny how the gub’mint’s game of musical chairs stopped at the landlords. They still had to pay lenders, real estate taxes, maybe even utilities, maintenance, etc. How come the geniuses didn’t let EVERYONE get to enjoy sacrificing for the common good, eh?

  41. As much as I’d like to call this a gov’t taking, I actually agree with the gov’t’s argument that the renters are still on the hook.
    Thus, this is more of a “delaying,” and the landlords were deprived of interest that they could have earned on the rents that they should have received in a timely manner.
    Now, there will be renters who walk away without paying; in that case, the renters are the ones taking from the landlords.
    I think the proper solution is for the gov’t to step up and assist the landlords in pursuing the renters for back rent and also to prosecute and imprison renters who refuse to pay under grand theft, grand larceny, or the equivalent crime.
    Yes, the gov’t and politicians were wrong to institute the moratorium in the first place, but I think they managed to insert a sufficient legal trick to avoid having to pay the landlords to make them whole. At most, the gov’t should pay the landlords lost interest, but with interest rates so low, that’s basically nothing.

    1. One way to think about this is the Calif. law that incentivizes the police and prosecutors to overlook shoplifting under $950 per incident. It is not the gov’t that is actually doing the shoplifting, but they made it easier to do so by removing any law enforcement.

      Put another way, the decision to deny the landlord the rents is made by the renters who will walk away without paying. The gov’t didn’t deny the landlords these rents; they just made it easy for the dishonest renters to do so.

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