September 1, 2020

CDC Issues Broad Eviction Moratorium

Deidre Swesnik, 202-919-9106,
In an unprecedented move today, the Centers for Disease Control issued a wide-ranging eviction moratorium

“The CDC took a monumental step today in the fight against our public health crisis by issuing a universal eviction moratorium,” said Deborah Thrope, deputy director of the National Housing Law Project. “Housing access is critical to stem the effects of the coronavirus. With up to 30 to 40 million people currently at risk of being pushed out of their homes, the CDC’s actions will protect families from homelessness and housing instability, which is a danger to everyone.”

It is critical that the Administration actively enforce the moratorium. In a survey of legal aid attorneys released by NHLP in July, 91 percent of respondents reported illegal evictions by landlords in their area. NHLP will work with local advocates across the country to help ensure that tenants know their rights.

This is an initial summary of what the moratorium contains:

  • It is in effect as of September 4th and lasts through December 31st;
  • It applies to all tenants who present a signed declaration to their landlords;
  • The declaration requires the tenant to state that:
  • (i) their income is less than $99,000, they did not have to pay income tax in 2019, or they received a stimulus check;
  • (ii) they are unable to pay rent due to income loss or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses; 
  • (iii) they would become homeless or need to double-up if evicted; 
  • (iv) they will still make partial payments ("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”);
  • It applies wherever there is not a more protective state moratorium in effect, i.e. it acts as a floor;
  • It applies to evictions for nonpayment of rent;
  • There are criminal penalties for violations.

NHLP will continue to analyze this moratorium. NHLP has sent a number of letters to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (first letter to HUD, second letter to HUD), the US Treasury, and the US Department of Agriculture outlining their authority to issue a moratorium immediately.

The National Housing Law Project is dedicated to advancing housing justice for poor people and communities. NHLP achieves this by strengthening and enforcing the rights of tenants, increasing housing opportunities for underserved communities, and preserving and expanding the nation’s supply of safe and affordable homes.
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