Statement by AG Racine on OAG’s Effort to Reinstate D.C. Moratorium on Eviction Filings

OAG Will Appeal Decision by D.C. Superior Court Judge Finding Moratorium is Unconstitutional

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Attorney General Karl A. Racine today issued the following statement regarding the effort by the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) to appeal a D.C. Superior Court judge’s decision striking down the moratorium on eviction filings enacted by the Council during the COVID-19 public health emergency:

“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to crush local businesses, tens of thousands of District residents are struggling to pay the bills after losing hours at work, if not their jobs entirely. These residents deserve a chance to get back on their feet as soon as possible—without the added anxiety from an eviction filing looming over them.

“That’s why the Office of the Attorney General will appeal the December finding by a D.C. Superior Court judge that the Council’s moratorium on eviction filings is unconstitutional.

“Since the start of this public health emergency, OAG has enforced and defended the Council’s protections for our most vulnerable residents. For many District households, these measures—eviction protections chief among them—have made the difference between enduring this crisis and falling to ruin.

“Residents and advocates have told us that the moratorium on eviction filings has provided an essential source of relief in the form of hope that once the pandemic ends, they will be able to get back to work and back on track with rent payments while keeping a roof above their heads.

“While the Superior Court’s decision does not affect the moratorium on eviction proceedings or other tenant protections, we know that many residents may leave their homes in response to an eviction filing, whether out of fear, pressure, language barriers, or a lack of awareness regarding their rights. That’s exactly what we need to prevent during this public health emergency.

“After conducting a thorough legal analysis and carefully considering the community’s input, we plan to request a stay in D.C. Superior Court while we take this case to the D.C. Court of Appeals.”