Effective August 3, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) issued a new order imposing a temporary eviction moratorium (the “Order”). Under the Order, landlords may not evict tenants if the reason is based on the tenant’s failure to timely pay rent. The Order is effective until October 3, 2021.
The Order applies to “counties experiencing substantial and high levels” of community transmission of COVID-19. As of this writing, every locality within the NVAR footprint falls within either “substantial” or “high” transmission level classification. Community transmissibility can be tracked here.
While the Order’s scope is more limited, its requirements are similar to the previous CDC eviction moratorium. The Order only applies to “Covered Persons,” which includes “any tenant, lessee, or resident of a residential property who provides to their landlord, the owner of the residential property, or other person with a legal right to pursue eviction or a possessory action, a declaration under penalty of perjury indicating that:
- The individual has used best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing;
- The individual either (i) expects to earn no more than $99,000 in annual income for Calendar Year 2020 (or no more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return), (ii) was not required to report any income in 2020 to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, or (iii) received an Economic Impact Payment (stimulus check);
- 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 lay-off, 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 nondiscretionary expenses;
- Eviction would likely render the individual homeless— or force the individual to move into and reside in close quarters in a new congregate or shared living setting— because the individual has no other available housing options; and
- The individual resides in a U.S. county experiencing substantial or high rates of community transmission levels of SARS-CoV-2 as defined by CDC” (the “Declaration”).
A copy of the Declaration can be found here. A tenant who executes the Declaration “or a similar declaration” under penalty of perjury and provides it to the landlord is protected from eviction due to failure to timely pay rent.
The Order does not relieve any individual of any obligation to pay rent (including late fees, penalties, or interest), which presumably must be paid at some point. The Order does not prohibit evictions based on: (1) engaging in criminal activity while on the premises; (2) threatening the health or safety of other residents; (3) damaging or posing an immediate and significant risk of damage to property; (4) violating any applicable building code, health ordinance, or similar regulation relating to health and safety; or (5) violating any other contractual obligation, other than the timely payment of rent or similar housing-related payment (including non-payment or late payment of fees, penalties or interest).
The Order may be challenged in court, but is currently set to expire October 3, 2021 regardless. NVAR will provide updates as additional information becomes available.
You can read the National Association of Realtors® report on housing providers who brought their case back to court after the CDC extended the eviction moratorium. Also, text “evictions” to 30644 and receive updates on NAR efforts and resources related to this and other advocacy issues. You can review NAR President Vince Malta’s response to the original CDC order here. For more information on NVAR’s efforts on behalf of you and your clients at the local and state level, click here. A summary of recently enacted protections for Virginia tenants is located here.
As always, contact the Legal Hotline if you have any additional questions or concerns.