A Georgia woman is one of several property owners suing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over its recent moratorium on evictions.
Sonya Jones runs a farm in Odum, a town in Southeast Georgia. She produces eggs from more than 70,000 chickens.
As she’s earned money over the last 22 years, she’s bought rental homes.
“When you work by yourself, you don’t really have retirement,” Jones said. “So that’s what I’m trying to do–just build that up so that you know, when I retire, I will have something.”
But recently, she’s felt like that something doesn’t belong to her.
One of her tenants fell behind on rent—she and her tenant disagree about the exact amount. When Jones tried to evict the tenant in court, the judge had some news.
He told Jones the CDC is prohibiting most evictions for nonpayment of rent until the end of the year.
“What right do they have to tell me I can’t have my own property?” Jones asked.
After Jones left the courthouse, she learned about a lawsuit arguing the CDC does not have that right.
It’s from the National Civil Liberties Alliance, a group that says it protects constitutional freedom. The lawsuit claims the moratorium is government overreach.
The CDC has said evictions are a public health threat and the agency has the power to limit that threat during a pandemic.
But according to the civil liberties group’s legal complaint, only Congress should have the ability to interfere with state law and halt evictions.
To Jones, the eviction moratorium simply isn’t fair. She is now a plaintiff in the lawsuit along with a few other landlords in South Carolina, New Jersey and Virginia.
The lawsuit also has the backing of the National Apartment Association.
“It just puts a big stress on us,” she said. “These other landlords who work, we don’t deserve this.”
The case is pending in federal court.