CDC Halts Evictions Nationwide – Renters Must Claim Protection

Centers for Disease Control Moratorium Stops Residential Evictions to Help Prevent Spread of COVID-19

By Jeff Sorg, OnlineEd Blog

(September 2, 2020)

Worried couple facing eviction

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), located within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), announced the issuance of an Order under Section 361 of the Public Health Service Act to temporarily halt residential evictions to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. The moratorium becomes effective on its publication date in the Federal Register of September 4, 2020, and remains in effect through December 31, 2020.

Under the order, a landlord, an owner of a residential property, or another person with a legal right to pursue eviction or possessory action, shall not evict any covered person from any residential property in any jurisdiction to which the moratorium order applies during its effective period. The order does not apply in any State, local, territorial, or tribal area with a moratorium on residential evictions providing the same or greater level of public-health protection than the CDC order. Nor does it preclude State, local, territorial, and tribal authorities from imposing additional requirements that provide greater public-health protection and are more restrictive requirements. The order is a temporary eviction moratorium to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 and does not relieve any individual of any obligation to pay rent, make a housing payment, or comply with any other obligation under a tenancy, lease, or similar contract. Nothing in the order precludes charging or collecting fees, penalties, or interest as a result of the failure to pay rent or other housing payments on a timely basis, under the terms of any applicable contract.

For renters to qualify for the CDC’s protections, they must make less than $99,000 a year, or $198,000 if filing taxes jointly, be unable to pay rent because of loss of income or extraordinary medical expenses, if they would become homeless or be required to live in crowded conditions, and have to declare that they have no other housing options available if evicted. This CDC ban will apply only if there isn’t a more protective state moratorium already in place.  According to the CDC, “In the absence of State and local protections, as many as 30–40 million people in America could be at risk of eviction. A wave of evictions on that scale would be unprecedented in modern times. A large portion of those who are evicted may move into close quarters in shared housing or become homeless, thus contributing to the spread of COVID-19.”

Tenants, under penalty of purgery, must swear to the following:

  • They have used best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing;
  • They either expect to earn no more than $99,000 in annual income for Calendar Year 2020 (or no more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return), was not required to report any income in 2019 to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, or received an Economic Impact Payment (stimulus check) under Section 2201 of the CARES Act;
  • They are unable to pay my full rent or make a full housing payment due to substantial loss of household income, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, lay-offs, or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses;
  • They are using best efforts to make timely partial payments that are as close to the full payment as the individual’s circumstances may permit, taking into account other nondiscretionary expenses;
  • If evicted that they would likely become homeless, need to move into a homeless shelter, or need to move into a new residence shared by other people who live in close quarters because they have no other available housing options.
  • They understand that they must still pay rent or make a housing payment, and comply with other obligations that they may have under their tenancy, lease agreement, or similar contract. And further understand that fees, penalties, or interest for not paying rent or making a housing payment on time as required by their tenancy, lease agreement, or similar contract may still be charged or collected.
  • They further understand that at the end of this temporary halt on evictions on December 31, 2020, their housing provider may require payment in full for all payments not made before and during the temporary halt, and failure to pay may make them subject to eviction under State and local laws.

 

Any person who violates the CDC order may be subject to a fine of no more than $100,000 if the violation does not result in a death or one year in jail, or both, or a fine of no more than $250,000 if the violation results in a death or one year in jail, or both, or as otherwise provided by law. An organization violating the order may be subject to a fine of no more than $200,000 per event if the violation does not result in a death or $500,000 per occurrence if the violation results in a death or as otherwise provided by law.

[Image Credit: (c) CanStockPhoto] [Source: Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions to Prevent the Further Spread of COVID-19]

 

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