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Challenge to eviction moratorium is denied; appeal planned

JKC Property Management Co. LLC sought the writ of mandamus after a judge earlier this month denied a bid for an execution for possession
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

ST. LOUIS — An appeals court judge has denied a challenge to St. Louis County's eviction moratorium, put in place as the pandemic took hold.

Judge Mary Kay Hoff, of the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, denied a petition from a property management company seeking an order forcing local judges to allow the eviction of two tenants from a Ferguson home.

JKC Property Management Co. LLC sought the writ of mandamus last week after St. Louis County Circuit Court Judge John Lasater earlier this month denied a bid for an execution for possession, which allows the County Sheriff's Office to evict. Lasater cited orders from St. Louis County Presiding Judge Michael Burton, putting evictions on hold indefinitely because of the health risk to sheriff employees.

JKC argued that Burton's orders conflicted with the state's Constitution and law.

But Hoff denied the petition for writ of mandamus, which seeks to force an official to do something that he is already required to do by law. No reason was given.

An attorney for JKC, Kathie Davis, said she'd appeal to the Missouri Supreme Court.

Small-time landlords say eviction moratoriums unfairly place a COVID-19 burden on them alone, potentially putting them behind on obligations such as property taxes and maintenance.

A moratorium on evictions in the city of St. Louis, good through Oct. 2, says it is "not in the interest of public health to displace persons from their homes during this COVID-19 emergency."

RELATED: Ferguson landlord challenges COVID moratorium on evictions