What the CDC Eviction Moratorium Means for Landlords

by Steffi Cook | Updated: Oct 2, 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is still a major threat in the United States, actively spreading throughout the country and affecting more and more people each day. In an effort to curb the spread, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued an eviction moratorium temporarily halting residential evictions. The order was published on September 4, 2020 and will run until December 31, 2020.

What exactly does this mean for you as a landlord? We’ve broken down the different implications below. 

No evictions allowed for tenants with a declaration form 

Under the order, landlords are legally not allowed to evict tenants for not paying rent between now and December 31, 2020 if they have completed and returned a declaration under penalty of perjury form to them. The declaration can be provided to you at any time during the order’s effective period to be valid and applies to both single-family and multi-family residences. 

However, the eviction moratorium does not apply to foreclosures on home mortgages. Therefore, unless the building your tenant lives in is being foreclosed upon, you can’t force your tenants to vacate your property for the rest of 2020 if they’ve signed and returned this form to you. You also can’t ask another party, such as the police or a lawyer, to enforce an eviction.

However, it’s important to note that tenants can still be evicted for other reasons during the moratorium besides not paying rent, such as violating the terms of a lease. 

Rent is still due to you 

It’s important to note that the eviction moratorium is NOT a rent forgiveness program — it only defers evictions until the beginning of 2021. Your tenants simply have additional time to work out a payment plan with you and use this extra time to explore various types of financial assistance. 

Furthermore, you’re allowed to charge and collect fees, interest or penalties if your tenants don’t pay their rent on a timely basis under the terms of an applicable lease

Covered people must meet certain criteria

Not all tenants can simply sign and return a declaration form to you to be considered a “covered person.” They must meet the below criteria:

  • Have used their best efforts to obtain governmental assistance for rent
  • Expect to earn $99,000 or less in annual income for 2020 or $198,000 or less if filing a joint tax return, weren’t required to report their 2019 income or received a stimulus check
  • Are unable to pay the full rent amount due to substantial loss of income, lay-offs, loss of hours of work or high out-of-pocket medical expenses (7.5% of one’s adjusted gross income for the entire year)
  • Are using their best efforts to make timely partial rent payments as their circumstances permit
  • If evicted, would likely become homeless or have to move into a new home shared by others in close living quarters

Each adult listed on a particular lease must also complete and provide a declaration form to you. 

Proving a tenant doesn’t meet the above criteria will be difficult

It’s worth noting it would be extremely difficult and time-consuming for you to prove your tenant does not meet the above criteria and is making false statements. Simply wait until the eviction moratorium ends to collect your rent payments if your tenants submit the declaration forms. If these statements are discovered to be false and misleading, tenants can face fines, court or even jail time, so they’ll risk a lot if they try and take advantage of it if they’re not eligible.

Working together during the eviction moratorium is key

It’s important to remember the eviction moratorium is a temporary solution to keep renters in their homes to preserve public health. While it may be causing significant stress for you, know that it’s not permanent and you’ll receive your rent payments in due time.

The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal, medical or financial advice. Readers are encouraged to seek professional financial, medical or legal advice as they may deem it necessary.

Categories: Coronavirus, Landlords

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