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Understanding The Eviction Moratorium

SARS-COV-2 caused devastating disruption worldwide in mostly every financial market. Millions of workers experienced some sort of financial loss. Reduced hours, furloughs and complete job loss challenged many families. It’s understandable how meeting financial obligations including rent could become a challenge. Back in March, Congress stepped in passing the CARES Act Eviction Moratorium.

CARES Act Section 4024(b) prohibited landlords from starting eviction proceeding or charging late fees or penalties against a tenant for nonpayment of rent. These protections extended for 120 days from March 27, 2020 until August 24, 2020. The moratorium did not absolve tenants from legal responsibilities. The moratorium mostly allowed individuals a chance to work through current challenges under a grace period. The 120 days provided many with peace of mind that an immediate eviction would not occur if unable to pay their rent.

The initial moratorium expired on August 24, 2020 assuming the US would have a better grasp on coronavirus spread. Unfortunately, the virus is still spreading without any signs of slowing down. The Centers for Disease Control Director, Dr. Robert Redfield, used executive power attempting to slow the spread by signing a new declaration. Signed on September 4, 2020, the new declaration focuses on mass evictions. The CDC’s concern is how mass evictions could be detrimental to public health control measures currently in place to slow spread.

The declaration requires Renter’s or Homeowner’s to provide a signed copy of the Declaration under penalty of perjury. Individuals must exhaust all efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing. Individuals must meet an annual income of no more than $99,000. Individuals are unable to pay rent due to substantial loss of household income. Individuals are attempting to make timely partial payments as close to the full payment as possible. Individuals would likely be homeless if evicted. If these requirements are not fully executed persons signing the declaration could be prosecuted.

Many landlords are fighting the declaration as unconstitutional. They are suing the Trump administration and CDC over the executive. Certainly, this is a tough position for many and coming together is key. Landlords, tenants, and financial institutions must work together. Everyone has a role to ensure the most favorable outcome.

Here at Horizon we truly value our tenants and staff. We believe in working together. These are without question unprecedented times. Communication is key now more than ever. How we respond during these times show who we are and what we value.  If you find yourself challenged with maintaining your rental responsibilities, please contact your leasing office. We are in this together!

By: Quinn Newton