At the request of President Joseph Biden, both the Center for Disease Control and Prevention eviction moratorium of renters, along with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Agriculture foreclosure moratoriums are extended until at least March 31, while the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ similar moratorium is extended through at least Feb. 28.
The eviction moratorium is a federal ban on the evicting of tenants who have fallen behind on rent payments. The previous ban was originally extended by Congress and set to expire at the end of this month.
To be protected from eviction under the CDC eviction moratorium, each adult tenant must complete and provide to the landlord an affidavit under penalty of perjury certifying:
- The individual has used best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing
- The individual either expects to earn no more than $99,000 in annual income for calendar year 2020-2021 (or no more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return), was not required to report any income in 2019 to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service or received an Economic Impact Payment (stimulus check) pursuant to Section 2201 of the CARES Act
- The individual is unable to pay the full rent or make a full housing payment due to substantial loss of household income, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, a layoff or extraordinary out of-pocket medical expenses
- The individual is 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
- Eviction would likely render the individual homeless— or force the individual to move into and live in close quarters in a new congregate or shared living setting—because the individual has no other available housing options.
A tenant is able to provide a declaration to the landlord either prior to the commencement of eviction efforts or at any time during eviction proceedings.
According to the CDC, a landlord who violates the order may be subject to a fine of no more than $100,000 or one year in jail, or both, if the violation does not result in death. A person violating the order may be subject to a fine of no more than $250,000 or one year in jail, or both, if the violation results in a death or as otherwise provided by law.
In December, Congress approved a $900 billion coronavirus relief bill, with $25 billion allocated to states for rental assistance.
The moratoriums of foreclosures for certain federally backed mortgages were also extended by HUD, USDA and the VA.
Biden also announced his stimulus plan, which includes $25 billion to help those households behind on rent. It is estimated that around 14 million people or close to 20% of rental households are behind on payments, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The plan still needs to be passed by Congress.
In December, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court modified some of the timeline rules for when a landlord can regain possession of residential property following an eviction.
“Last month, we also saw two changes to Pennsylvania eviction rules that assist landlords,” said PAR Staff Attorney Brian Carter. “An extension of the 120-day deadline to 180 days was approved to provide the parties with greater flexibility to negotiate and enter into private forbearance agreements. And the second change allows landlords to be able to request up to two extensions of this 180-day deadline, with each extension being for 60 days, however, the landlord must request the first extension before the 180-day period expires.”