Bob Pinnegar, the president and CEO of the National Apartment Association (NAA), argued on "Cavuto: Coast to Coast" on Thursday that "the backbone of the nation’s rental housing stock" is at risk with the latest eviction moratorium.
Pinnegar was referring to independent rental owners who own a building with one to four units, which he noted is more than half of the America’s housing stock at 53%.
Last week, NAA filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims to recover damages on behalf of rental housing providers that have "suffered severe economic losses under the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s overreaching federal eviction moratorium," according to a news release.
The association, which claims to be the first to take legal action seeking compensation for the policy, argues that the federal eviction moratorium "jeopardizes the long-term viability of housing infrastructure and sets a dangerous precedent for future disaster-response measures."
The lawsuit comes after President Biden initially balked at extending the eviction moratorium on his own. He cited an opinion by Justice Brett Kavanaugh from June saying any further extensions of the moratorium would have to be done by Congress.
But Congress did not have the votes to extend the moratorium. And after intense political pressure from the left wing of his party, Biden said that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would move ahead with a new eviction ban despite significant legal concerns.
"The bulk of the scholars say it is not likely to pass constitutional muster," the president said Tuesday.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday, however, that the White House does not believe most Americans care whether or not the president's policies are legal, noting that Biden is going to "do everything in his power to make sure they can stay in their homes as long as possible."
The judge in the D.C. District Court gave the Biden administration until 9 a.m. Friday to respond to the emergency motion. The motion asks the court to vacate its May 14 order which allowed the government to continue enforcing the eviction moratorium despite the fact the court said it was illegal.
If the stay pending appeal is vacated then the eviction moratorium will no longer be in effect.
The case could quickly escalate to the D.C. Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court no matter the outcome at the district court.
On Thursday, Pinnegar told host Neil Cavuto that "this is the seventh time this eviction moratorium has been extended and we are really starting to see an erosion of the nation’s rental housing stock, especially with the mom-and-pop operators that have single family homes."
According to a new survey from the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC), 100% of apartment owners and managers surveyed worked with residents faced with financial hardships during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Thursday, Pinnegar pointed to data from another survey from the National Rental Home Council, a Washington D.C.-based trade advocacy group.
The February survey of 1,000 small landlords, owning between one and three single-family homes, showed about 23% of such owners planned to sell at least one property due to hardships caused by the eviction ban, Reuters reported.
"If we lose that 36% of the nation’s rental housing stock, we’re in desperate trouble," Pinnegar warned.
On Thursday, a coalition of housing groups led by the Alabama Association of Realtors also filed a lawsuit in federal court in Washington, D.C., challenging the latest eviction moratorium, calling the Biden administration’s action "nakedly political" and "unlawful."
Last month, the Treasury Department announced that state and local officials doled out just $3 billion in aid over the course of the first half of the year, or roughly 6.6% of the $45 billion program intended to keep millions of renters in their homes. In total, it has provided relief to a fraction of the 1.2 million households that have reported being "very likely to face eviction in the next two months," the department said in a news release.
Pinnegar argued that "there is simply not enough money" that Congress had authorized to alleviate the dire situation. He told Cavuto that in reality, the total rent debt is nearly double what had been authorized already "and unfortunately the system that was put together is a very decentralized system without standards or measures how they [renters] can be successful."
Pinnegar stressed that there is an imminent need for more aid.
FOX Business’ Tyler Olson, Megan Henney, Bill Mears and Kellianne Jones contributed to this report.