Protesters say evictions are a crime during the pandemic

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Protesters believe eviction is a crime after a three-hour court hearing Friday morning for Memphis landlords.

The landlords are suing in federal court to put a stop to the ban on most evictions across the country.

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They said not being able to get rid of tenants who can’t pay their rent is keeping the property owners from paying their bills too.

Demonstrators took to the streets outside the federal building in downtown Memphis saying no one should lose their home during a pandemic.

“Eviction is murder, no more evictions during covid,” said several protesters.

It’s a case that impacts the nation’s entire rental housing market.

Seven Memphis landlords argue it’s unconstitutional for the federal government to issue an emergency order banning evictions on private property for the rest of the year.

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Protesters don’t see it that way.

“There’s a little bit of a personal tie for me, because I was, earlier this year, I was also at risk of eviction, because I had lost my job, and it had closed down because they were an essential business,” said Ethan White, a protester.

White’s company went out of business leaving him without a job. He kept his home, but just barely.

“It is important to me that other people who are at the same risk, maybe aren’t even as lucky, who actually might get kicked out and be homeless, might die on the streets, they need to keep their home,” he said.

A copy of the lawsuit showed plaintiffs said they rely on the rental income from their tenants to provide services needed by the tenants. Protesters worried that putting people out of their homes won’t make the deadly virus go away.

One of the attorneys for the Plaintiffs released a statement:

“The issues in this litigation are not only of national significance but they are of fundamental importance. We are confident in the merits of our case and argument and look forward to the Court’s ruling which we understand will be forthcoming,” said Joshua Kahane.