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
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
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
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.
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
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.