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Eviction moratorium to bring relief to many, but there are a few important caveats

Posted at 3:10 PM, Sep 02, 2020

Millions of homeowners and renters have been struggling to make housing payments since March.

“The latest census pulse survey shows about a third of renters have little to no confidence that they will be able to make rent,” said Alieza Durana with Princeton University’s Eviction Lab.

It’s been tracking the affordable housing crisis in America, but particularly how that has manifested during this pandemic.

“We have counted over 39,000 evictions between March and August,” said Durana.

Those evictions took place because the CARES Act’s federal moratorium on eviction only covered tenants in properties with federally backed mortgages, which is estimated to be about a third of all renters.

However, more than a month ago, even that partial protection expired, and millions of Americans have been lingering with concern over whether they can keep a roof over their heads.

“In the absence of government intervention, it doesn’t look good,” said Durana.

Late Tuesday afternoon, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a 37-page order that will ban evictions in order to reduce the spread of coronavirus. The order applies to owners and tenants of “any” residential property.

However, there are a few important caveats.

First, in order to be protected from eviction, you are required to provide your landlord with a signed copy of the declaration form that is located at the end of the CDC’s order.

Secondly, on the form, you have to swear that your income is below the CDC’s outlined threshold and that you are unable to make full rent payment because of a substantial loss of household income. The CDC’s income threshold is $98,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers.

Lastly, renters have to certify on the form that they will continue to pay whatever portion of their rent that is manageable and that they are aware whatever rent was not paid will still be owed in addition to late fees.

The CDC’s order protects renters until the end of 2020, but it does not protect homeowners against foreclosures. So far, there is no mention from Congress or from the Trump Administration of help to landlords.