President Trump’s new eviction moratorium could prevent you from getting evicted if you can’t pay rent.
Renters have faced a tough time during the Covid-19 pandemic. Losing your job or getting your hours cut is hard enough. But then facing the threat of eviction is like kicking you when you’re down.
Until now, various stimulus payments have allowed millions of tenants to pay rent and keep their housing. The CARES Act sent out $1,200 stimulus checks, topped up unemployment by $600 a week, and banned evictions. But most of the CARES Act provisions have expired.
So, what now? Coronavirus is still here — but help to cope with the pandemic’s impact has all but gone. But a temporary ban on evictions may help if you rent your housing.
What does the latest Trump and CDC order on eviction moratoriums mean for you? Is every tenant protected from eviction? Do you still have to pay the back rent when the eviction orders end?
But what about if you’re a small-time landlord? What does Trump’s eviction order mean for you and your rental business?
This article answers all your questions about the latest eviction moratorium and how it could impact you.
What is the Latest Eviction Moratorium?
The latest temporary halt on evictions started when Trump signed an executive order on August 8. The order is to protect renters who can’t pay rent due to Covid-19. Based on those orders, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an eviction moratorium.
The eviction ban is in force from September 4 through December 31, 2020.
Trump’s Eviction Moratorium vs. the Cares Act Ban on Evictions
There are some similarities and differences between the latest eviction ban and the moratorium in the CARES Act.
The President’s order and the CARES Act prevent landlords from evicting tenants who are in financial hardship because of COVID-19. Both the Order and the CARES Act are only temporary halts to evictions. Tenants are still liable for all the rent they owe when the eviction ban ends.
There are two significant differences between the President’s order and the CARES Act. These are:
- Landlords can now charge for “fees, penalties, or interest for not paying rent” on time. These late-payment fees must be in line with the rental agreement.
- The new eviction ban covers everyone, regardless of whether your landlord has a multifamily mortgage loan. The CARES Act only protected renters in federally-backed housing.
Who Does Trump’s Eviction Moratorium Protect?
Anyone in rented housing could get protection under the new eviction ban. To qualify for protection, you must meet five eligibility requirements, fill out a declaration, and deliver it to your landlord. From September until December, you still have to pay something toward rent.
What Are the 5 Eligibility Criteria for the Eviction Moratorium?
Here are the five requirements you must meet to prevent eviction:
- You have used your “best efforts” to get government help for rent or housing.
- Your expected earnings in 2020 are less than $99,000, or $198,000 if filing jointly.
- Loss of income or “extraordinary” medical expenses mean you can’t pay rent in full.
- You continue to pay as much rent as you can afford on time.
- Eviction would result in you becoming homeless.
How Do I Prove That My Landlord Can’t Evict Me?
You must sign the declaration published on the CDC’s website. The statement lists the five requirements to receive protection from eviction. Signing the CDC declaration, you agree to pay all due rent in full after December 31, 2020. Also, your landlord may charge late payment fees and interest.
You can find the CDC declaration here.
Who Must Fill Out the CDC Declaration?
The new eviction moratorium states that every adult named on a rental agreement should sign a separate declaration.
How do I Give My Landlord the Declaration?
You should send the signed declaration to your landlord. You can do this by email, regular mail, or hand it to them personally. However, it’s crucial to get proof of delivery and always keep a copy for yourself.
What if My Landlord Disputes My Declaration?
Provide reasonable proof if your landlord disputes your statement that you can’t pay rent in full. The CDC declaration doesn’t require that you submit financial records. However, if your landlord requests more information, you can provide this. If the landlord disagrees, a housing court judge would decide on any eviction.
Does the New Eviction Moratorium Cover All Renters?
No, the temporary halt on evictions only covers tenants who can’t pay rent due to loss of earnings. Your landlord can still start eviction proceedings for lease violations or expired leases. So, if you continuously disturb neighbors or damage the property, you can still get evicted during Covid-19.
Do I Still Have to Pay Rent to Avoid Eviction?
The CDC eviction moratorium states that you must use your “best efforts to make timely partial payments that are as close to the full payment.” This means you have to pay what you can. If you could pay more, but don’t, you lose eligibility for protection under the eviction ban.
Can My Landlord Charge Interest or Penalties for Partial Rent Payments?
Your landlord can charge you fees, interest, or penalties for not paying rent in full. However, landlords can only charge fees based on the rental agreement. So, it’s vital to remember that on January 1, 2021, you are liable for all due rent plus interest or late rent fees.
What Happens After December 31, 2020?
It’s not clear what happens when the eviction moratorium ends. You will have to pay the rent you owe in full. Plus, you may have four months’ worth of late rental fees and penalties added. But if you’re still jobless in January, paying rent will be a significant issue.
I’m a Landlord — Does the CDC Eviction Moratorium Help Me?
Unfortunately, nothing in Trump’s new eviction moratorium helps landlords. If you own a few rental units, you’ll have to chase tenants for back rent and late fees. But, with many tenants unemployed, they may not have the means to pay rent, let alone all the rent they owe.
Trump’s New Eviction Moratorium: In Conclusion
The ban on evictions until December 31, 2020, is good news for many renters. The moratorium gives some housing security — albeit temporary — to millions of people. In the meantime, it’s vital to explore options to get state assistance for rent. Also, there are many local resources for financial aid to help pay for essential day-to-day items.