The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an order entitled “Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions to Prevent the Further Spread of COVID-19.” This order, which took effect on September 4th, declares a national moratorium on certain residential evictions for nonpayment. The moratorium lasts through December 31, 2020. It applies only when tenants present their landlord with a signed declaration. The declaration must be signed under penalty of perjury.
To sign the declaration, a tenant must meet five essential criteria. The tenant must:
• Expect to have income less than $99,000 in 2020, received a stimulus check, or was not required to report income to the IRS in 2019;
• Be unable to pay full rent due to an income loss or “extraordinary” medical bills;
• Have used best efforts to obtain governmental rent assistance;
• Be likely to become homeless or to “live in close quarters” in another residence if evicted; and
• Promise to use “best efforts to make timely partial payments that are as close to the full payment as the individual’s circumstances may permit.”
Once the declaration is provided to the landlord the tenant should have the protection of the order. The CDC order applies to most tenants facing eviction for non-payment. The order should protect tenants at any stage of the eviction process.
The order does not provide any protection for evictions based on: (1) engaging in criminal activity while on the premises; (2) threatening the health or safety of other residents; (3) damaging or posing an immediate and significant risk of damage to property; (4) violating any applicable building code, health ordinance, or similar regulation relating to health and safety; or (5) violating any other contractual obligation, other than the timely payment of rent or similar housing-related payment (including non-payment or late payment of fees, penalties, or interest).
The wording of the order makes it clear that this moratorium is not focused on alleviating the economic effects of COVID but is a measure focused on preventing people from being dislocated from a public health standpoint. The order says that this moratorium is in place to help enforce isolation, stay at home guidelines, and social distancing.
Attorneys are working diligently to help tenants with threats of eviction and eviction claims, and will argue that the order should be read as broadly as possible. This summary is not intended as legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is created between Legal Services and any person obtaining information from our newsletter. To apply for services, please visit https://www.legalservicesmiami.org/self-help or call 305-576-0080.