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Am I protected by the CDC Eviction Ban?
Find out how the CDC eviction ban works in your state. We're tracking down the latest tools and information on the internet or you to use.

CDC Bans Evictions Through December

Updated: 2020-09-07 by

In a striking reversal after doing nothing but issue advisory-only opinions, the Centers for Disease Control has issued an order asserting authority over US property law in all 50 states, based on a World War II era law, governing control of infectious diseases. Violation of the order can result in federal criminal fines of up to $200,000 on landlords.

The Trump administration is trying to halt residential evictions through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but legal scholars are unsure it will stand up in court.

How this is going to go down in states that have traditionally given tenants no rights remains to be seen.

Importantly, the order does not relieve the tenant of the contractual obligation to pay rent, it just denies landlords using eviction to collect that rent, if the tentant has filled out this declaration.

The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau has issued guidance for using the CDC eviction ban. 

And the fine folks at A2J have come up with a very cool tool for state eviction forms by state

Once the ban is over, landlords can proceed with evictions. but you can discharge your personal liability for back rent in bankruptcy after the ban is over, if you're going to lose your lease anyway.

if you choose not to pay rent, now would be a good time to discuss your future options with bankruptcy attorney so you can plan for how you're going to move forward once the eviction ban is over.

The order states that (emphasis ours):

Under this Order, a landlord, owner of a residential property, or other person [3with a legal right to pursue eviction or possessory action, shall not evict any covered person from any residential property in any jurisdiction to which this Order applies during the effective period of the Order. This Order does not apply in any State, local, territorial, or tribal area with a moratorium on residential evictions that provides the same or greater level of public-health protection than the requirements listed in this Order. Nor does this order apply to American Samoa, which has reported no cases of COVID-19, until such time as cases are reported.

In accordance with 42 U.S.C. 264(e), this Order does not preclude State, local, territorial, and tribal authorities from imposing additional requirements that provide greater public-health protection and are more restrictive than the requirements in this Order.

This Order is a temporary eviction moratorium to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. This Order does not relieve any individual of any obligation to pay rent, make a housing payment, or comply with any other obligation that the individual may have under a tenancy, lease, or similar contract. Nothing in this Order precludes the charging or collecting of fees, penalties, or interest as a result of the failure to pay rent or other housing payment on a timely basis, under the terms of any applicable contract.

Renter's or Homeowner's Declaration

Attachment A is a Declaration form that tenants, lessees, or residents of residential properties who are covered by the CDC's order temporarily halting residential evictions to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 may use. To invoke the CDC's order these persons must provide an executed copy of the Declaration form (or a similar declaration under penalty of perjury) to their landlord, owner of the residential property where they live, or other person who has a right to have them evicted or removed from where they live. Each adult listed on the lease, rental agreement, or housing contract should likewise complete and provide a declaration. Unless the CDC order is extended, changed, or ended, the order prevents these persons from being evicted or removed from where they are living through December 31, 2020. These persons are still required to pay rent and follow all the other terms of their lease and rules of the place where they live. These persons may also still be evicted for reasons other than not paying rent or making a housing payment. Executed declarations should not be returned to the Federal Government.

....

This Order shall be enforced by Federal authorities and cooperating State and local authorities through the provisions of 18 U.S.C. 3559, 3571; 42 U.S.C. 243, 268, 271; and 42 CFR 70.18. However, this Order has no effect on the contractual obligations of renters to pay rent and shall not preclude charging or collecting fees, penalties, or interest as a result of the failure to pay rent or other housing payment on a timely basis, under the terms of any applicable contract.

Criminal Penalties

Under 18 U.S.C. 3559, 3571; 42 U.S.C. 271; and 42 CFR 70.18, a person violating this Order may be subject to a fine of no more than $100,000 if the violation does not result in a death or one year in jail, or both, or a fine of no more than $250,000 if the violation results in a death or one year in jail, or both, or as otherwise provided by law. An organization violating this Order may be subject to a fine of no more than $200,000 per event if the violation does not result in a death or $500,000 per event if the violation results in a death or as otherwise provided by law. The U.S. Department of Justice may initiate court proceedings as appropriate seeking imposition of these criminal penalties.

 

And here is the language of the declaration you must make to your Landlord to qualify: (Click here for the the official CDC form as a PDF.)

Declaration Under Penalty of Perjury for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Temporary Halt in Evictions to Prevent Further Spread of COVID-19

This declaration is for tenants, lessees, or residents of residential properties who are covered by the CDC's order temporarily halting residential evictions (not including foreclosures on home mortgages) to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. Under the CDC's order you must provide a copy of this declaration to your landlord, owner of the residential property where you live, or other person who has a right to have you evicted or removed from where you live. Each adult listed on the lease, rental agreement, or housing contract should complete this declaration. Unless the CDC order is extended, changed, or ended, the order prevents you from being evicted or removed from where you are living through December 31, 2020. You are still required to pay rent and follow all the other terms of your lease and rules of the place where you live. You may also still be evicted for reasons other than not paying rent or making a housing payment. This declaration is sworn testimony, meaning that you can be prosecuted, go to jail, or pay a fine if you lie, mislead, or omit important information.

I certify under penalty of perjury, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1746, that the foregoing are true and correct:

  • I have used best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing; [37]
  • I either expect to earn no more than $99,000 in annual income for Calendar Year 2020 (or no more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return), was not required to report any income in 2019 to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, or received an Economic Impact Payment (stimulus check) pursuant to Section 2201 of the CARES Act;
  • I am unable to pay my full rent or make a full housing payment due to substantial loss of household income, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, lay-offs, or extraordinary [38out-of-pocket medical expenses;
  • I am using best efforts to make timely partial payments that are as close to the full payment as the individual's circumstances may permit, taking into account other nondiscretionary expenses;
  • If evicted I would likely become homeless, need to move into a homeless shelter, or need to move into a new residence shared by other people who live in close quarters because I have no other available housing options.[39]
  • I understand that I must still pay rent or make a housing payment, and comply with other obligations that I may have under my tenancy, lease agreement, or similar contract. I further understand that fees, penalties, or interest for not paying rent or making a housing payment on time as required by my tenancy, lease agreement, or similar contract may still be charged or collected.
  • I further understand that at the end of this temporary halt on evictions on December 31, 2020, my housing provider may require payment in full for all payments not made prior to and during the temporary halt and failure to pay may make me subject to eviction pursuant to State and local laws.

I understand that any false or misleading statements or omissions may result in criminal and civil actions for fines, penalties, damages, or imprisonment.

______________________

Signature of Declarant

______________________

Date

Source: Federal Register: Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions To Prevent the Further Spread of COVID-19

A Notice by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on 09/04/2020

Summary

Notice and Order; and subject to the limitations under “Applicability”: Under 42 CFR 70.2, a landlord, owner of a residential property, or other person [4with a legal right to pursue eviction or possessory action, shall not evict any covered person from any residential property in any jurisdiction to which this Order applies during the effective period of the Order.

 

Definitions

“Available government assistance” means any governmental rental or housing payment benefits available to the individual or any household member.

“Available housing” means any available, unoccupied residential property, or other space for occupancy in any seasonal or temporary housing, that would not violate Federal, State, or local occupancy standards and that would not result in an overall increase of housing cost to such individual.

Covered person” [5means any tenant, lessee, or resident of a residential property who provides to their landlord, the owner of the residential property, or other person with a legal right to pursue eviction or a possessory action, a declaration under penalty of perjury indicating that:

(1) The individual has used best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing;

(2) The individual either (i) expects to earn no more than $99,000 in annual income for Calendar Year 2020 (or no more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return),[6(ii) was not required to report any income in 2019 to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, or (iii) received an Economic Impact Payment (stimulus check) pursuant to Section 2201 of the CARES Act;

(3) the individual is unable to pay the full rent or make a full housing payment due to substantial loss of household income, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, a lay-off, or extraordinary [7out-of-pocket medical expenses;

(4) the individual is using best efforts to make timely partial payments that are as close to the full payment as the individual's circumstances may permit, taking into account other nondiscretionary expenses; and

(5) eviction would likely render the individual homeless—or force the individual to move into and live in close quarters in a new congregate or shared living setting—because the individual has no other available housing options.

“Evict” and “Eviction” means any action by a landlord, owner of a residential property, or other person with a legal right to pursue eviction or a possessory action, to remove or cause the removal of a covered person from a residential property. This does not include foreclosure on a home mortgage.

Residential property” means any property leased for residential purposes, including any house, building, mobile home or land in a mobile home park, or similar dwelling leased for residential purposes, but shall not include any hotel, motel, or other guest house rented to a temporary guest or seasonal tenant as defined under the laws of the State, territorial, tribal, or local jurisdiction.

“State” shall have the same definition as under 42 CFR 70.1, meaning “any of the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia.”

“U.S. territory” shall have the same definition as under 42 CFR 70.1, meaning “any territory (also known as possessions) of the United States, including American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.”

 

Relevant footnotes 

3. For purposes of this Order, “person” includes corporations, companies, associations, firms, partnerships, societies, and joint stock companies, as well as individuals.

5.  This definition [of "covered person'] based on factors that are known to contribute to evictions and thus increase the need for individuals to move into close quarters in new congregate or shared living arrangements or experience homelessness. Individuals who suffer job loss, have limited financial resources, are low income, or have high out-of-pocket medical expenses are more likely to be evicted for nonpayment of rent than others not experiencing these factors. See Desmond, M., Gershenson, C., Who gets evicted? Assessing individual, neighborhood, and network factors, Social Science Research 62 (2017), 366-377, http://dx.doi.org/​10.1016/​j.ssresearch.2016.08.017, (identifying job loss as a possible predictor of eviction because renters who lose their jobs experience not only a sudden loss of income but also the loss of predictable future income). According to one survey, over one quarter (26%) of respondents also identified job loss as the primary cause of homelessness. See 2019 San Francisco Homeless Point-in-Time Count & Survey, page 22, available at: https://hsh.sfgov.org/​wp-content/​uploads/​2020/​01/​2019HIRDReport_​SanFrancisco_​FinalDraft-1.pdf.

6.  According to one study, the national two-bedroom housing wage in 2020 was $23.96 per hour (approximately, $49,837 annually), meaning that an hourly wage of $23.96 was needed to afford a modest two bedroom house without spending more than 30% of one's income on rent. The hourly wage needed in Hawaii (the highest cost U.S. State for rent) was $38.76 (approximately $80,621 annually). See National Low-Income Housing Coalition, Out of Reach: The High Cost of Housing 2020, available at: https://reports.nlihc.org/​oor. As further explained herein, because this Order is intended to serve the critical public health goal of preventing evicted individuals from potentially contributing to the interstate spread of COVID-19 through movement into close quarters in new congregate, shared housing settings, or though homelessness, the higher income thresholds listed here have been determined to better serve this goal.

36.  In the United States, public health measures are implemented at all levels of government, including the Federal, State, local, and tribal levels. Publicly-available compilations of pending measures indicate that eviction moratoria and other protections from eviction have expired or are set to expire in many jurisdictions. Eviction Lab, COVID-19 Housing Policy Scorecard, available at: https://evictionlab.org/​covid-policy-scorecard/​.

37.  “Available government assistance” means any governmental rental or housing payment benefits available to the individual or any household member.

38.  An “extraordinary” medical expense is any unreimbursed medical expense likely to exceed 7.5% of one's adjusted gross income for the year.

39.  “Available housing” means any available, unoccupied residential property, or other space for occupancy in any seasonal or temporary housing, that would not violate Federal, State, or local occupancy standards and that would not result in an overall increase of housing cost to you.

Conclusion

Now would be a good time to discuss your future options with bankruptcy attorney so you can plan for how you're going to move forward once the eviction ban is over.

 

You may also be interested in:

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  • Bankruptcy as Part of Your COVID-19 Financial Plan

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