National Eviction Moratorium
Yesterday, the President’s Administration, via an Agency Order filed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the Federal Register, cited a public health emergency to halt residential evictions across the United States until December 31, 2020. It cited the prevention and further spread of COVID-19 as the reason for the Order. A press release from the White Housecan be found here. Notably, this Agency Order does not supersede the state Moratorium. In the state of Washington you must comply with the Washington Moratorium.
This Agency Order applies to all residential rental properties even if they do not have a federally backed mortgage. The Order does not forgive rent or relieve any individual of their obligation to pay rent under their lease terms. It simply precludes eviction actions through December 31, 2020.
The Order imposes several limitations on when and how the moratorium applies. Specifically:
- The Moratorium only applies to individuals making $99,000 or less or families making $198,000 or less.
- Renters must certify, under penalty of perjury, that:
- They have made a “good faith” effort to seek rental assistance.
- They are unable to pay due to COVID-19-related hardship.
- Eviction would cause them to become homeless or live in close quarters.
- The Order provides a sample Declaration form (Attachment A to the Order) for renters to provide to their housing provider when seeking the eviction protection.
- Evictions would still be permitted for lease violations unrelated to inability to pay because of COVID-19.
It also does not preclude late fees or penalties from being assessed.
The Order does not address the financial pressures and obligations of rental property owners. Without mortgage forbearance protections and protections from other property-level financial obligations such as property taxes, insurance payments, and utility service, the stability of the entire rental housing sector is thrown into question. We continue to urge Congress to enact a robust rental assistance program and to oppose blanket eviction moratoriums.