CDC Announces Eviction Moratorium Through End Of Year

By Dave Simpson
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Law360 (September 1, 2020, 10:54 PM EDT) -- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced a nationwide eviction moratorium Tuesday through the end of the year, following a directive from President Donald Trump last month to consider such a ban in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the moratorium, which aims to slow the spread of the coronavirus, renters who make less than $99,000 this year — or joint earners making less than $198,000 — cannot be evicted for failure to pay rent, the CDC said.

"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," the agency said. "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."

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Tuesday that the order impacts nearly 40 million renters.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, which the president signed into law in March, set a four-month moratorium on evictions, fees and penalties for tenants living in multifamily units receiving federal assistance or homeowners with government-backed mortgages. The CARES Act also provided the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development with $12.4 billion in funding to address housing needs during the pandemic.

But the law's eviction moratorium expired in July, and Congress has yet to pass anything that would extend eviction protections since its expiration.

Some states and cities have passed eviction moratorium legislation, and the CDC's order notes that it does not undercut those laws: If local law is more protective for renters than the CDC order, then local law prevails.

In addition to the 2020 earning requirements, the order also applies to any renters who reported no income last year, and those who got a stimulus check at the start of the pandemic.

"These persons are still required to pay rent and follow all the other terms of their lease and rules of the place where they live," the order says of the applicable renters. "These persons may also still be evicted for reasons other than not paying rent or making a housing payment."

In August, Trump issued an executive order asking the director of the CDC to "consider whether any measures temporarily halting residential evictions of any tenants for failure to pay rent are reasonably necessary to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 from one state or possession into any other state or possession."

--Editing by Breda Lund.

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