The Center for Disease Control and Prevention issued today. It forbids resident evictions for non-payment of rent for “covered person[s]” until December 31, 2020.
The main features of the directive are:
- It covers all residential tenancies occupied by “covered person[s]”, not just federally subsidized tenancies.
- To receive its protection, all adults in the tenant household must deliver a declaration to the landlord. The CDC’s order states its required text. That text requires the tenant to attest, among other things, that (i) they expect to earn no more than $99,000 for 2020 or $198,000 for a couple, or was not required to file a tax return, or received a stimulus check; (ii) they cannot pay the full rent because of a “substantial loss” of income because of “extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses”; (iii) they are making “best efforts” to pay the rent; (iii) if evicted they would likely become homeless or move in with other people “in close quarters”.
- The directive permits evictions “based on a tenant, lessee, or resident: (1) engaging in criminal activity while on the premises; (2) threatening the health or safety or other residents; (3) damaging or posing an immediate and significant risk of damage to property; (4) violating any applicable building code, health ordinance, or similar regulation relating to health and safety; or (5) violating any other contractual obligation, other than the timely payment of rent or similar housing-related payment (including nonpayment or late payment of fees, penalties or interest).”
- Tenants still owe the money and landlords may evict them when the moratorium expires.
- The directive does not pre-empt local or state moratoria that are more protective of tenants. Washington State’s present moratoria is more protective in at least two ways. It does not require tenants to deliver a declaration to the landlord. It is not limited to tenants who are low-income or suffered a loss of income or may become homeless.