By: Ireland O’Connell, Legal Intern, Volunteer Lawyers Program
A CDC order was released on March 29, 2021, two days before the existing CDC order was set to expire. The 17-page CDC Order emphasizes the continued effects and dangers of COVID-19, and how evictions would worsen these issues. Here’s the information you need to know:
Do you qualify?
A Covered person means 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:
- The individual has used best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing;
- The individual either (i) earned no more than $99,000 (or $198,000 if filing jointly) in Calendar Year 2020, or expects to earn no more than $99,000 in annual income for Calendar Year 2021 (or no more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return), (ii) was not required to report any income in 2020 to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, or (iii) received an Economic Impact Payment (stimulus check).
- 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 out-of-pocket medical expenses;
- 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
- 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.
What has changed:
- The new expiration date for the halt in residential evictions is June 30, 2021.
- A signed declaration submitted under a previous order remains valid, and Covered persons do not need to submit a new declaration under this Order.
- Evictions for nonpayment of rent initiated prior to September 4, 2020, but not yet completed are subject to this Order, but those that were completed before September 4, 2020, are not subject to the Order.
- While the Order does not ban evictions for engaging in criminal activity while on the leased premises, Covered persons may not be evicted on the sole basis that they are alleged to have committed the crime of trespass (or similar state-law offense) where the underlying activity is a covered person remaining in a residential property despite nonpayment of rent.
- Individuals who are confirmed to have, who have been exposed to, or who might have COVID-19 and take reasonable precautions to not spread the disease should not be evicted on grounds that they pose a health or safety threat to other residents.
It is important to note that this order temporarily suspends the eviction of covered persons from residential property for nonpayment of rent. 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.
What you need to do:
You must provide a signed declaration to your landlord, owner of the residential property, or whoever has the right to have you evicted or removed. Here is a link to the standardized declaration form the CDC has provided: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/declaration-form.pdf
It is, however, not necessary to use this form. You only need to make sure you include the required elements of a “Covered person” in a written, signed document. You must also state that you understand you can be liable for perjury for any false or misleading statement or omissions in the declaration. In certain circumstances, such as individuals filing a joint tax return, it may be appropriate for one member of the residence to provide a declaration on behalf of the other adult residents who are party to the lease, rental agreement, or housing contract. You can use a form translated into other languages, and it can be sent either electronically or by hard copy.
Here is the CDC declaration form in Spanish: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/Eviction-Declare-esp-508.pdf
*This CDC Order does not prevent a landlord challenging the truthfulness of a tenant’s, lessee’s, or resident’s declaration in court, as permitted under state or local law.
Coronavirus Relief Fund information
Information about the Emergency Rental Assistance Program
Information on rent relief options, protections, and key deadlines
Information from CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES. ORDER UNDER SECTION 361 OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE ACT (42 U.S.C. 264) AND 42 CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS 70.2
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