In the beginning of this month, HHS and the CDC enacted an unprecedented, nationwide eviction moratorium to help mitigate against the further spread of Covid-19. The CDC’s emergency health order protects qualifying renters from eviction for nonpayment of rent through December 31, 2020. For renters to receive protections offered through the order they must submit a form to their landlord or property owner affirming that they meet the set criteria. Under penalty of perjury, the tenant must verify that:
- They made best efforts to get available government assistance for rent or housing;
- They either qualified for an Economic Impact Payment (stimulus check) under the CARES Act, or expect to earn no more than $99,000 for an individual or $198,000 for joint filers in calendar year 2020;
- They are unable to pay the full rent or payment due to substantial loss of household income, loss of hours of work or wages, or large medical expenses;
- They will continue best efforts to make timely partial payments that are close to what their earnings permit; and
- The eviction would likely cause them to become homeless or require them to move into and live in close quarters or a shared living setting.
This order does not offer rent forgiveness, meaning tenants will still be required to pay back rent once the order expires at the end of the year. The order also does not prohibit landlords or property owners from charging late fees while the temporary moratorium is in place.
It is imperative for Congress and the administration to now work quickly to enact bipartisan legislation that provides direct rental assistance to tenants so that affordable housing providers are able to continue paying their bills.