On August 3, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a new order temporarily halting evictions for nonpayment of rent in communities with substantial or high levels of community transmission of COVID-19.
While the legality of this new order remains in question, here are the key facts housing providers need to know to comply with it while it is in effect through October 3.
What Areas of the Country Are Covered?
The new moratorium applies to U.S. counties experiencing substantial and high levels of community transmission as of August 3, 2021. This is a moving target, however.
U.S. counties who develop substantial or high levels of community transmission while the moratorium is in effect (through October 3), even if they were not experiencing them on August 3 will become subject to the moratorium as of the date they hit that mark.
However, the moratorium will not apply when a county no longer experiences substantial or high levels of community transition for 14 consecutive days. Though, the moratorium can come back into effect if they again experience substantial or high levels of community transmission.
CDC is using this map to identify counties covered by the order: https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view.
Who Qualifies for Protection?
Individuals who provide their housing provider with a declaration under penalty of perjury that:
- They have use best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing;
- They have earned no more than $99,000 (or $198,000 if filing jointly) in calendar year 2020 or expect to earn no more than that amount in calendar year 2021, not have been required to report taxable income in 2020, or received a stimulus check in 2020 or 2021.
- They are unable to pay the full rent or make a full housing payment due to substantial loss of household income, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, a layoff or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses;
Like the earlier CDC eviction moratorium, to qualify for protections, an individual must have completed and signed a declaration form and provided it to their landlord. NOTE: If a resident submitted a declaration form under the previous CDC eviction moratorium and is still present in their unit, they do not need to submit a new declaration form.
Who is Not Covered?
Any resident subject to eviction for reasons other than non-payment of rent, such as engaging in criminal activity while on the premises, threatening the health and safety of other residents and damaging property.
Can I Proceed with an Eviction Already Filed?
Evictions for nonpayment of rent initiated prior to August 3 but not completed by then are subject to the moratorium. However, the moratorium is not retroactive. Therefore, any eviction that was completed before the moratorium was issued, including from August 1 through August 3 are not subject to the moratorium.
Can Late Fees Still Be Applied?
Yes. The moratorium does NOT relieve residents of their obligation to pay rent and nothing in it precludes housing providers from charging or collecting fees, penalties or interest as a result of the resident’s inability to pay rent.
What Are the Penalties for Non-Compliance?
Any organization violating the moratorium 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 event in the event of a death. The U.S. Department of Justice may also initiate criminal proceedings. (Note, there are different penalties for individuals violating the moratorium.)
*** The information provided herein is general in nature and is not intended to be legal advice. It is designed to assist our members in understanding this issue area, but it is not intended to address specific fact circumstances or business situations. For specific legal advice, consult your attorney. Additional information on the CDC Order is available here: https://bit.ly/3xpM06c.