President Donald Trump and The Center for Disease Control (CDC) issued a nationwide eviction moratorium on September 1st, that directly went into effect during the first week of the month. The White House-backed order aims to alleviate the hardships that millions of renters are facing due to coronavirus, and the effects of the public health emergency we’re experiencing. According to an Aspen Institute article, an estimated 30-40 million renters are at risk of eviction due to the inability to pay rent. The CDC order was issued to protect these millions of people. But who’s eligible to apply, how long will this order be in effect, and what does all of this mean for landlords? We’re here to answer all your questions about the latest CDC eviction bans on residential rental properties.
What’s the CDC’s New Eviction Ban?
The national eviction moratorium, which went into effect early September, dictated that landlords cannot evict tenants who cannot pay rent due to COVID-19 related reasons. The nationwide eviction moratorium is set to expire on December 31st of this year. The CDC orders do not offer any sort of relief for landlords or tenants, but rather recommend local authorities to make use of available coronavirus relief funds. It’s also important to point out that the CDC eviction ban does not outweigh any eviction bans imposed by states.
Why Was This CDC Eviction Ban Passed?
It’s no secret that the pandemic has left tenants vulnerable. Millions across the US have lost their jobs and means of income generation. As a result of these trying times, many have become homeless, or are at risk of becoming homeless.
Many are wondering what authority the CDC has to impose eviction bans such as this one. The CDC is using its capacity under federal law. With this ban, the CDC highlights the connection between homelessness and the possible transmission of coronavirus. The more people there are on the street, the more likely they are to get infected. So the ban was imposed from a public health point of view, as well as a humanitarian one.
Who Is Eligible?
So who’s eligible for the latest order, and who does it cover? The eviction ban, imposed nationwide, applies to renters across the country who are not able to make their rent payments, and who do not make more than $99,000 per year or $198,000 for joint filers. Eligible tenants are required to sign and submit a declaration to property owners. Declarations should include:
- Statement of inability to pay rent as a result of coronavirus, highlighting any loss of employment or income.
- Declaration stating that the tenant does not expect to make more than $99,000 per year or $198,000 for joint filers.
- A clarification that the renter is unlikely to find shelter if evicted.
- The tenant’s intent to pay rent when they are able to, and any current search for alternative means of support.
- Renters are able to provide documentation, but it is not a requirement. As a landlord, do not challenge a renters’ statement unless you’re sure it’s faulty. Otherwise, renters can seek legal help, and you’re stuck in legal complications.
Make sure to ask renters for a signed copy of the declaration that you can keep on file.
What Do These Eviction Bans Mean for Landlords?
The residential eviction bans mean that landlords cannot evict “covered” tenants on the basis of not paying rent until December 31st, 2020. It’s important to note that these eviction bans do not relieve tenants from paying rent or complying with rental obligations. Under these orders, landlords can still impose late fees for uncollected rent, and can still evict tenants for other lease violations besides nonpayment of rent.
Because the eviction bans do not entirely relieve renters from paying rent, eventually you’ll be able to receive a rental income. Tenants may reach out to you to sort out some sort of arrangement. That could be in the form of paying in installments or pushing to paying once every two months, or whatever works for both of you. Remember that these are challenging times for everyone, so be flexible and understanding of the circumstances. Finally, do not make excessive demands, and try to work with your tenant to reach the best possible outcome.
What Are Landlords Saying About This?
To no one’s surprise, this has come as unfavorable news to landlords, to say the least. Like renters, landlords have also been struggling through this pandemic. While the act does provide housing stability for renters, it risks leaving landlords without their main source of income and puts them at risk of going into financial crises of their own. So far, landlords have been complying with the orders, and are working with tenants and authorities through the situation.
How Does This Compare to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Eviction Moratorium?
The CDC eviction ban orders are described to be more comprehensive than the CARES Act eviction moratorium. They also plan to serve more renters. Furthermore, the CARES Act already expired in July and August in most states, and only applied to an estimated 28% of the renter population, according to The Conversation. The CDC moratorium applies to and covers more tenants anywhere in the US, with the exception of states with more comprehensive moratoriums.
Additionally, the CDC order imposes criminal and financial penalties on landlords who do not comply, unlike the CARES Act which did not have a clear means of enforcement.
What Happens After December 31st?
There are no plans for post-eviction bans in place yet. Technically speaking, once the eviction bans expire, landlords will once more be able to issue eviction notices to tenants who do not make their rent payments – leaving many renters homeless. So if conditions continue to worsen, there may be an extension to these bans to evicting a tenant. Congress has been pushing for further assistance funding, but nothing is set in stone to this moment.
Are you a landlord? How are you handling these orders in the current real estate market?