Residential Eviction Restrictions Enacted by CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently issued an order temporarily halting residential evictions for certain covered tenants until December 31, 2020, in an attempt to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, which the CDC calls “a historic threat to public health.”

  • The order applies to all residential property in the U.S. and its territories, except where such property is already covered by an eviction moratorium with the same or greater protections.
  • There are several requirements before a tenant can take advantage of the protections in the order. First, the tenant must be unable to pay full rent due to income loss and the tenant is not expected to make more than $99,000 in income this year, or $198,000 if filing a joint tax return. Next, the tenant must certify, under penalty of perjury, that if the tenant is evicted, 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.” The tenant must also certify that the tenant has used best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing. Finally, the tenant must swear that the tenant is using best efforts to make timely partial payments that are as close to the full payment as the tenant’s circumstances may permit.
  • The tenant is not relieved from paying rent, but rather, an eviction proceeding cannot be commenced. The landlord can continue to charge fees, penalties, or interest as a result of the failure to pay rent on a timely basis under the terms of the rental agreement.  Additionally, the tenant can still be evicted for reasons other than not paying rent, such as violating other provisions of the lease (drug use, crime, noise, etc.).

While the CDC order is wide ranging in its possible effect, there will no doubt be litigation to determine the legality of the eviction moratorium. We will issue additional alerts concerning any new developments.

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