CDC Order – Federal Information
The Centers for Disease Control announced the publication of an Order on Sept. 4, 2020, an “Eviction Suspension” program for tenants who have suffered economic impacts as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and fallen behind on their rent. By providing a Declaration to their Landlord, tenants facing eviction for non-payment of rent can prevent being removed from their homes until after Jan. 1, 2021.
Update: This date has been extended to June 30, 2021 as of March 29, 2021. Please scroll down for more information.
What does the Order do? According to the CDC, the Order “temporarily halts residential evictions of covered persons for nonpayment of rent from September 4, 2020 through January 31, 2021. This means that a landlord, owner of a residential property, or other person with a legal right to pursue an eviction or a possessory action cannot evict for nonpayment of rent any covered person from any residential property in any U.S. state or U.S. territory where the Order applies.”
Who is a “covered person” for the purposes of this Order?
- The individual has used best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing;
- The individual either (i) expects to earn no more than $99,000 in annual income for Calendar Year 2020-2021 (or no more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return), (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;
- 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 non-discretionary expenses.
- 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.
Links to help you navigate this Order:
3/29/21: The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has extended the national ban on evictions through the end of June. The eviction ban had been scheduled to expire at the end of March.
The CDC’s eviction ban applies to individuals who earn less than $99,000 a year and couples who make under $198,000. To qualify, renters also have to attest on a declaration to their landlord that they’re unable to afford their rent and that being evicted could result in them doubling up with others or becoming homeless. Read the full order here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/more/pdf/CDC-Eviction-Moratorium-03292021.pdf.
Our initial review of the Order reveals that there are few substantive changes to the Order that is currently in place. We’ll also be looking out for any new Orders from the Chief Justices in NC/SC/GA, as well as from NC Governor Cooper; as soon as we hear anything, of course, we will pass that on to you.
1/21/21: One of the first Executive Orders issued was to empower the new CDC Director; Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH, to extend the CDC Order through March 31st. Dr. Rochelle issued the following statement yesterday:
“As a protective public health measure, I will extend the current order temporarily halting residential evictions until at least March 31, 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a historic threat to our nation’s health. It has also triggered a housing affordability crisis that disproportionately affects some communities.
Despite extensive mitigation efforts, COVID-19 continues to spread in America at a concerning pace. We must act to get cases down and keep people in their homes and out of congregate settings — like shelters — where COVID-19 can take an even stronger foothold.”
12/22/20: Congress passed COVID Stimulus Bill, extending CDC order for 30 days. – The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.
10/30/20: Brown v. Azar Order – The Federal court hearing the legal challenge to the CDC Order issued on Sept. 4.
9/3/20: HHS/CDC Temporary halt in residential evictions to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 press release and FAQ.
Does the CDC Order prevent me from filing non-payment evictions?
As mentioned in the NEW FAQ document from CDC, evictions for non-payment of rent can continue to be filed, even after the resident(s) have provided the required Declaration to their Landlord. The case might not be allowed to proceed to Judgment, depending on the location and the Judge (a continuance is the other option for the Judge). However, the case can still be filed, and the process started. Moreover, even if you receive a valid declaration, evictions for any reason other than monetary default may still proceed through the entire process, as those claims are not part of the “temporary halt” the Order permits for non-payment cases.
When I receive a Declaration, what does that prevent me from doing?
In its Order of Oct. 29th (Brown v. Azar Order), the Court made clear that a Landlord should only be prohibited from doing one thing after a Tenant provides them with a completed CDC Declaration form: remove them from the Leased Premises by lockout/ setout. Nothing else should be prohibited, according to the Court. That means that Landlords should still be permitted to: serve late letters; charge late fees; send Notices of Termination; file new eviction cases for any reason (even non-payment); hold hearings on those cases; obtain Judgments from the Courts. The Landlord just may not ask the Court to enforce that Judgment by a Writ and a lockout/setout. That’s all, according to the Federal Court in Brown.
How do I challenge a CDC Declaration that may be invalid?
Is this an eviction moratorium?
No, it’s not. Many are using the term moratorium as a convenient way to short-hand the content of the Order. The proposed Order would actually create a protocol in the nature of a “lockout suspension program” and not a ‘moratorium’ in any sense. The Order actually uses the words “temporary halt” to describe the effect on lockouts/setouts/removals and makes it clear that it can only be utilized in cases filed for non-payment of rent.
Does this apply to ALL tenants?
The program only applies to eligible tenants, NOT all tenants. If all tenants in a rental unit submit to the Landlord a written Declaration, under penalty of perjury, that they meet the Order’s ‘qualifying criteria,’ they may temporarily halt a lockout/ setout. However, not all tenants will meet the criteria, and their cases would therefore not be covered by this Order.
What do I do if I receive a CDC Declaration?
Make a note of the date that you received it and upload it using this form.
Is this order permanent?
The effect of the Order is not permanent. The Order itself contemplates a “temporary halt” and would prevent ONLY actions that result in removing the tenant from the dwelling, and only until Dec. 31, 2020. After that, barring new legislative or regulatory changes, lockouts should be able to proceed for any tenants who have not gotten caught up or moved out.