The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in millions of Americans becoming unemployed. Many families, especially low-income households, are struggling to pay their rent and are now facing housing instability. In an effort to reduce the spread and avoid mass homelessness, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Department of Heath and Human Services (HHS) has passed an executive order to halt certain residential evictions for tenants who cannot afford to pay their rent. This bans evictions due to nonpayment of rent until December 31st, 2020.
To qualify for these protections, you will need to meet certain eligibility criteria. You’ll need to attest on a declaration form that you expect to earn less than $99,000 in 2020 (for couples less than $198,000), that you have received a stimulus check or that you were not required to pay income taxes in 2019. You will also need to confirm that you’ve tried to get any available government housing assistance, that you’re unable to pay your rent due to a loss of income or layoff or increase in out-of-pocket medical expenses. You and anyone on the lease or in the household will want to sign the form and provide a copy to your landlord and keep a copy for your records. If your landlord refuses to acknowledge the agreement, reach out for legal assistance by reaching out to your local legal aid or bar association.
If you are able to continue paying your rent or mortgage, it is important to continue doing so as the CDC’s order does not forgive the missed payments and will still accrue. You can talk to your landlord or mortgage company about repayment options after the hold ends December 31st, 2020. Some states and cities have emergency funds set aside for those who have fallen behind. You can check on LegalFAQ.org or HUD.gov to see if your state or city has funds or programs available.
Declaration form: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/declaration-form.pdf