On September 4, 2020, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention announced a federal ban on residential evictions. The “Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions to Prevent the Further Spread of COVID-19” Order prohibits landlords and owners of rental properties from evicting a tenant or lessee.
In order to receive protection from an eviction, a tenant or lessee must provide his or her landlord with a Declaration form. The Declaration requires the tenant or lessee to meet five requirements. First, the tenant or lessee must have used his or her best reasonable efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing. Second, the individual must either expect to earn no more than $99,000 in annual income during 2020, was not required to report any income in 2019 to the Internal Revenue Service, or received an stimulus check pursuant to the CARES Act. Third, the individual must certify that he or she is unable to paythe full rent or full housing payment due to a substantial loss of household income, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, a lay-off, or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses. Fourth, the renter or lessee must currently be using his or her best efforts to make timely partial payments that are as close to the full payment as the circumstances pay allow. Finally, the renter or lessee must certify that eviction would likely render him or her homeless or require him or her to move into and live in close quarters in a shared living setting because he or she has no other available housing options. Once a renter or lessee provides this Declaration, no eviction can take place. This Order extends until December 31, 2020.
Although the Order provides considerable protections, there are several important caveats. First, for example, the ban on evictions does not include foreclosures on home mortgages. Second, renters could still be evicted for other reasons,such as unlawful activity. Third, the Order does not relieve any individual of any obligation to pay rent. In fact, landlords can still charge late fees or interest for the unpaid rent during this time. Therefore, renters, lessees,landlords, and residential property owners should consult the Order and the Declaration to ensure they comply with and qualify for eviction protections.