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The CDC's New Eviction Ban: What Landlords Need to Know

September 04, 2020

Catching landlords and eviction courts by surprise this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) temporarily stopped residential evictions across the country. The move aims to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. Below are some things landlords should know about the CDC’s order:

  • Landlords cannot evict “covered persons” from residential properties in any jurisdiction to which this order applies through Dec. 31, 2020.
  • It doesn’t apply in any state, local, territorial or tribal area with a residential eviction ban that provides the same or greater level of public health protection.
  • It does not relieve a tenant’s obligations to pay rent, make housing payments or comply with other obligations the tenant may have under contract.
  • It does not bar landlords from charging or collecting fees, penalties or interest based on the tenant’s failure to make timely payments.
  • Landlords can still file evictions for reasons other than non-payment of rent.

To invoke the protections of the order, tenants must provide an executed copy of a declaration that meets certain requirements. Each adult on the lease must complete a declaration that states under penalty of perjury that:

  • The tenant has used best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing.
  • The tenant either:
    • Expects to earn no more than $99,000 in annual income for 2020 (or $198,000 if filing jointly)
    • Was not required to report any income in 2019 to the IRS
    • Received an Economic Impact Payment (stimulus check) through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act
  • The tenant is unable to pay the full rent due to substantial loss of household income, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, a layoff or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses.
  • Eviction would likely render the tenant homeless or force the tenant to live in close quarters in a new shared living setting because the tenant has no other housing options.
  • The tenant is using best efforts to make timely partial payments that are as close to the full payment as the tenant’s circumstances permit.

Legal challenges to the order and the CDC’s authority to issue it are anticipated. Phelps will monitor this issue as it evolves and provide updates. Please contact Amanda Messa or any other member of Phelps’ Real Estate team if you have questions or need compliance advice and guidance. For more information related to COVID-19, please also see Phelps’ COVID-19: Client Resource Portal.