The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has ordered a halt of residential evictions as of September 4, 2020 through December 31, 2020.
What Does the CDC Eviction Order Do?
The CDC eviction order prevents a Landlord from evicting a covered person from a residential property.
Where Does the CDC Eviction Order Apply?
The Order is Nationwide, however, if a State has a moratorium on residential evictions that is equal to or great than the CDC’s Order, then the States moratorium will apply. States may impose restrictions greater than those set forth in the CDC Order halting evictions. The Order is also different than the moratorium previously issued under the CARES ACT which only applied to those properties with federal assistance or having federally related financing.
Who Does the CDC Order Halting Evictions Protect?
In order to qualify and invoke the Order, a covered person, which is defined as any tenant, lessee, or resident of a residential property, must provide a signed Declaration form signed under the penalties of perjury to their Landlord.
How Long Does the CDC Order Halting Evictions Last?
Once the Declaration(s) have been completed and presented to the Landlord the Order prevents those person(s) from being evicted or removed from the premises through December 31, 2020.
Requirements Related to the CDC Order Halting Evictions
The Declaration requires the person(s) to certify under penalties of perjury that they:
Expect to earn no more than $99,000.00 for the calendar year 2020 and no more than $198,000.00 in annual income if filing a joint tax return.
The persons are unable to pay full rent or housing payment due to a substantial loss of household income, loss of hours of work or wages or extraordinary out of pocket medical expenses.
That the person(s) have used their best efforts to make timely partial payments that are as close to the full payment as the individuals circumstances may permit, taking into account other nondiscretionary expenses.
That the persons have used their best effort to obtain all available governmental assistance for rent or housing.
That if evicted the person(s) would likely become homeless or need to move into a homeless shelter or need to move into a residence shared by other people who live in close quarters because the persons have no other available housing.
That the persons understand that they must still pay rent or make housing payments and comply with other obligations under the tenancy and/or lease agreement.
That the fees, penalties or interest for not paying rent or making a housing payment on time as required by any tenancy or lease agreement may still be charged and collected.
That the person(s) understand that at the end of this temporary halt on evictions, December 31, 2020, the housing provider may require payment in full for all payments not made prior to and during the temporary halt. Failure to pay may make the person(s) subject to an eviction pursuant to State and local laws.
That the person(s) understands that any false or misleading statements or omissions may result in criminal and civil actions for fines, penalties, damages or imprisonment.
Once the declaration has been completed the person(s) must present it to the Landlord at which time the Order prevents those person(s) from being evicted or removed the premises through December 31, 2020, for non-payment of rent.
The person(s) are still responsible to pay rent under the terms of the Lease Agreement and need to follow all other terms of the Lease Agreement and Rules of the property where they live. The person(s) may still be evicted for other reasons other than non-payment of rent. The Declaration nor the Order excuses or dismisses rent due and owing, as the Landlord may ask for all rent due and owing once the moratorium has expired.
A violation of the Order by any person(s) may result in fines and/or imprisonment.
The CDC Order for the purposes of New York State must be read in conjunction with New York States Tenant Safe Harbor Act. The Safe Harbor Act allows a tenant to assert a defense of suffering a financial hardship in an eviction proceeding. If the tenant is successful with that Defense then the Landlord may not obtain a Warrant of Eviction, but may obtain a monetary judgment for the rent due and owing. Whether the Tenant Safe Harbor Act could be construed as being more restrictive than the CDC Order would be the subject of discussion. Furthermore, the CDC Order does not address the instance of if a tenant submits a Declaration and the Landlord disputes the assertions set forth within the Declaration and the activities that may be taken by the Landlord in those circumstances.
The various Orders, Laws, Moratoriums and Memorandums are subject to interpretation and in some instances are inconsistent. Furthermore, they may be modified at any time.
On a brighter note, some Courts are starting to address the back log of eviction proceedings and outstanding warrants of evictions that were scheduled or issued back in March when the moratorium took place. Hopefully that will continue so as to allow the filing of new actions, assuming that they qualify to proceed based upon the current restrictions.
MCV Law's Landlord Lawyers Are Here to Help Landlords Navigate the CDC Order Halting Evictions
MCV Law is here to protect and pursue the Landlords interest. Please contact my office for any legal assistance.
The above is a synopsis and is being provided to you for general information purposes and not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice.