Help! I Can’t Pay My Rent (or Mortgage). 2021 eviction moratoriums extended – What Homeowners And Tenants Need To Know To Avoid Foreclosure And Evictions

[Update from approved $900 billion stimulus package] Congressional leaders have now extended rental assistance and eviction moratoriums in the latest $900 billion COVID relief package. This is welcome news for millions of Americans at risk over the next 4 months. In addition to additional stimulus checks, the new stimulus bill contains $25 billion in emergency rental assistance and an extension of eviction moratoriums till the end of March. The current deadline is Jan 31st, 2021 per the updates below. Exact dates are still to be confirmed pending final legislation.

I’ll post updates as they become available.

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CDC 2020 Moratorium on Foreclosure And Evictions

On September 4, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) under the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) signed an Order which places a temporary moratorium on residential evictions to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.

What does the CDC eviction ban mean?

For a tenant, lessee, or resident who is unable to pay their rent because of COVID-19, either in part or in full, the landlord or owner of the property or mortgage (including banks) may not evict them for non-payment. 

When did this Order start?

This Order became effective on September 4, 2020 and remains in effect until December 31, 2020.

Does this Order replace the moratorium that my State already has in place?

This Order does not apply to any state, local, territorial, or tribal area that currently has a moratorium in place that provides at least the same protections as included within this Order. Also, this Order does not prevent the authorities of any State, local, territorial, or tribal area from imposing further requirements that protect public health that may be more restrictive than what is covered in this Order.

Essentially, if a State, local, territorial, or tribal area has a moratorium in place that provides the same or more protection than what is included within this Order, that moratorium will remain in effect. Conversely, if the State, local, territorial, or tribal area has a moratorium that provides less protection to residential tenants, this Order takes precedence.

Am I eligible for the CDC eviction ban?

You may be eligible if you meet the following requirements.

  • You have used your “best efforts” for available government assistance for housing.
  • Your income doesn’t exceed $99,000 if you are a single filer and $198,000 if you file a joint tax return.  If you received a stimulus check or were not required to report your income, you may still qualify.
  • You had a significant loss of household income, lost wages, or were laid off. You may also qualify if you had extensive out-of-pocket medical expenses that exceed more than 7.5% of your income for 2020.
  • You are using your “best efforts” to attempt to make timely partial rent payments that are as close to the full monthly rental amount when possible. The amount you can pay also considers other non-discretionary expenses.
  • If evicted, you have no other housing options. You would either be homeless or living in close quarters with other people.

Will I still owe rent when the moratorium is up?

The Order does not relieve the tenant, lessee, or resident from paying their rent at any time. You will need to pay the rental amounts owed at some point.  Whatever amount you are financially able to pay each month while this eviction ban is in effect keeps this overall debt down.

Your landlord may continue to charge late fees, penalties, or interest if your rental agreement allows. These amounts may be added to the total amount that you owe.

I am a tenant and can’t pay my rent. What do I need to do?

Tenants must sign a declaration that indicates they are financially unable to pay their rent in full and may be homeless or forced to move into shared housing if evicted.  The tenant also declares that they made an effort to obtain government assistance and are still unable to pay their rent.

The tenant also acknowledges in this written declaration that they are required to comply with the terms of their rental agreement and that any amounts due (rent, penalties, interest, late fees) may be due in full when the CDC eviction ban is lifted.

Tenants must provide this written declaration to their landlord. 

Can I still be evicted if this Order is in place?

A landlord may be able to evict a tenant, lessee, or resident in certain situations.  Eviction may happen if the tenant, lessee, or resident:

  • Engaged in criminal activity while on the property
  • Threatens the safety or health of other residents on the premises
  • Damages property or poses a significant and immediate risk of damage
  • Violates any applicable regulation, ordinance, or code concerning health or safety
  • They violated another term or obligation of their contract, other than timely payment of their rent and related payments, such as late fees, interest, or penalties
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