An apartment building in San Diego. File photo

The California Rental Housing Association filed a lawsuit against the State of California in federal court Thursday seeking to stop enforcement of the third extension of the statewide moratorium on evictions during the pandemic.

The association, which represents over 9,000 members with nearly 537,000 rental units, said the extension provided by Assembly Bill 832 violates basic property rights and is unconstitutional.

“We tried working with our legislators and the governor to reach an agreement that would recognize the financial burdens faced by both rental housing providers and renters,” said Kevane LaMarca, president of the association. “They chose to ignore the financial burdens of small and medium rental property providers. The courts are our last resort.”

The lawsuit, filed under the federal civil rights act in Sacramento, seeks a declaration that AB 832 is unconstitutional and an injunction prohibiting its enforcement.

“The state continues to extend the eviction moratorium with no distinction between residents who cannot afford to pay due to the pandemic and residents who can afford to pay their rent but are using the moratorium to violate their rental agreements,” LaMarca said.

He said that throughout the pandemic, landlords have continued to provide housing, in some cases for no compensation.

The legislature voted in late June to extend the moratorium to Oct. 1 amid the surge in cases due to the delta variant of COVID-19.

Last week, a court upheld the City of San Diego’s own extended eviction ban, which is separate from the state’s law. It was challenged by the Southern California Rental Housing Association.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.