CDC Issues Federal Eviction Order


The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (the “CDC”) has issued an Agency Order (the “Order”) temporarily halting residential evictions to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.  The Order, which applies to all 50 states, becomes effective on September 4, 2020 and will remain in effect through December 31, 2020. 

The Order prevents landlords from evicting any “covered person” from any “residential property” during its effective period.

A “covered person” means a resident who provides to its landlord an executed declaration under penalty of perjury stating that:

  1. The individual has used best efforts to obtain all available governmental assistance for rent or housing;
  2. The individual (i) expects to earn no more than $99,000 in annual income for 2020 (or no more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return), (ii) was not required to report any income in 2019 to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, or (iii) received a stimulus check pursuant to the CARES Act.
  3. The individual is unable to pay the full rent due to substantial loss of household income, loss of hours of work or wages, a lay-off, or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses;
  4. The individual is using best efforts to make timely partial payments that are as close to the full payment as the individual’s circumstances permit; and
  5. 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.

A form of declaration setting forth the above statements is attached to the Order.

Residential property” is broadly defined under the Order to include any property leased for residential properties (including mobile homes), but does not include hotels, motels, or guest houses rented to temporary guests or seasonal tenants.

The Order does not relieve tenants of their obligation to pay rent or comply with any other obligations under a lease.  Landlords may continue to charge fees, penalties, or interest to the extent permitted under a lease.

The Order does not preclude evictions based on a resident:  (i) engaging in criminal activity on the premises; (ii) threatening the health or safety of other residents; (iii) damaging property; (iv) violating any applicable building code, health ordinance, or similar regulation relating to health and safety; or (v) violating any other contractual obligation (other than the payment of rent, fees, penalties, or interest). 

Landlords who receive declarations from their tenants pursuant to the Order must be mindful of the restrictions set forth in the Order and not pursue eviction proceedings.  Criminal penalties may be imposed for violating the Order.  In the event of a dispute regarding the veracity of a tenant’s declaration, landlords should carefully evaluate the circumstances on a case-by-case basis in consultation with their legal counsel.  

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