Moratorium on evictions extended until 2020

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Many tenants facing financial hardship amid the pandemic will not be evicted by the end of 2020, due to a new federal moratorium.

Freezing evictions was issued by the Centers for Disease Control under the Emergency Action Authority of the Public Health Service Act.

The CDC cited the growing number of coronavirus cases nationwide and the virus’s “historic threat to public health” as a necessary cause to take further action to slow the spread.

“Moratoriums on evictions facilitate self-isolation for people who become ill or are at risk of serious illness from COVID-19 due to an underlying medical problem,” the CDC said. “They also make it easier for state and local authorities to implement home care and social distancing guidelines to mitigate the community spread of COVID-19. “

Here’s what you need to know.

Who can qualify

The moratorium applies to people who expect to earn no more than $ 99,000 or to joint filers who expect to earn no more than $ 198,000 in annual income in 2020. These are the same criteria required to receive the economic impact payment of $ 1,200 earlier this year; if you qualified for stimulus control, you should also qualify for this moratorium.

For tenants in states or cities that have already put in place moratoriums on evictions (such as New Jersey or Chicago), the CDC says the terms of these moratoria will take precedence over this national order, as long as the protections they offer are “of equal or greater protection to public health.”

You can find more information on national and local moratoriums on evictions and view protections that may apply in your area through this page from National Housing Law Project.

In addition to meeting the income requirements, you must demonstrate an inability to pay rent due to “substantial” loss of income, layoff, or “extraordinary” medical expenses. In addition, you must certify that the eviction would lead to homelessness or the need to move into a shared residence in the immediate vicinity and that you have done your best to obtain government assistance for rent or accommodation.

The CDC highlighted in its order the increase in infections that can be caused by increased homelessness, due to the difficulty of social distancing and other preventive measures in large shelters or among unprotected people. . This can become particularly prevalent as the seasonal flu approaches, and colder weather forces more homeless people to seek shelter in indoor shelters.

Pro tip

A moratorium on evictions will prevent you from losing shelter, but you will still have to pay rent. Your landlord will still expect you to honor your rental agreement when the moratorium ends, and they may charge you additional fees, penalties, or interest if you don’t pay.

How to take action

In its statement, the CDC included a declaration form for tenants (scroll to the end of the document to see the form). You, as well as all the persons named on your lease, must complete this form or a declaration written and executed in the same way to certify that the above qualifications correspond to your situation.

To invoke the moratorium, the CDC said, you can provide the completed declaration to your landlord or landlord directly. This form serves as a sworn testimony under penalty of perjury.

Being eligible for this moratorium does not release you from any rent owed or other payment obligation. In fact, signing the statement indicates that you are doing your best to make payments as complete as possible on time.

If you are able to pay your monthly rent, it is important to continue to do so. While your landlord can’t evict you until the end of 2020, they can still apply additional fees, penalties, or interest for non-payment.

A step in the right direction

Earlier this year, a federal moratorium on evictions under the CARES Act tenants protected in properties secured by federally guaranteed mortgages. But this legislation only affected about one in four rental housing, according to data from the Urban Institute, leaving many tenants to rely on state and local moratoria.

The CARES law moratorium expired on July 24, after many of the protections put in place by states and local governments expired. That same week, the $ 600 a week in extended federal unemployment benefits expired. As a result, many of those hardest hit by the pandemic, who had relied on extended benefits for meet their necessary expenses like rent, facing a threat eviction cliff.

After the moratorium expired, owners were still required to give 30 days’ notice before starting any evictions, but that ended on August 24.

This ordinance is more sweeping than the moratorium under the CARES Act – it applies to all eligible tenants, not just those on federally funded properties – but experts fear that is not enough.

Many unemployed Americans still face a loss of income and are unable to return to work. Executive measures signed by President Trump in early August, including a new wage loss assistance program providing up to $ 300 in unemployment benefits, may provide some relief, but have been implemented slowly. In the meantime, there is still no concrete plan for a second stimulus or an extension of the benefits of Congress.

“Although a moratorium on evictions is an essential step, it is a half-measure that extends a financial cliff for tenants when the moratorium expires and when the rent is due”, Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. said in a press release following Tuesday’s order. “This action delays but does not prevent evictions.”

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