As of September 4, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has ordered a moratorium on residential evictions through December 31, 2020. However, a tenant is not automatically entitled to take advantage of this moratorium.
What does a tenant have to do to take advantage of it? He or she must fill out a form certifying “under penalty of perjury” that he or she:
- Has used best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing;
- Is either expected 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), 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;
- Is unable to pay his/her full rent or make a full housing payment due to substantial loss of household income, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, lay-offs, or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses;
- 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;
- If evicted I would likely become homeless, need to move into a homeless shelter, or need to move into a new residence shared by other people who live in close quarters because he/she has no other available housing options;
- Understands that he/she must still pay rent or make a housing payment, and comply with other obligations that he/she may have under his/her tenancy, lease agreement, or similar contract. Understands that fees, penalties, or interest for not paying rent or making a housing payment on time as required by his/her tenancy, lease agreement, or similar contract may still be charged or collected.
- Understands that on December 31, 2020, his/her landlord may require payment in full for all payments not made prior to and during the moratorium period and failure to pay may make him/her subject to eviction pursuant to state and local laws.
The link to the necessary form can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/declaration-form.pdf
This form must be filled out and provided to your landlord to be effective. It is also important to note that this moratorium does not apply to all evictions. It only applies in situations where your landlord is trying to evict you for unpaid rent. If your landlord is seeking to evict you for other reasons, such as damage to the premises or for drug use, this moratorium does not apply.
In addition, just because you provide this form to your landlord, it does not mean that your landlord will not pursue you for eviction for non-payment if your landlord has a basis to think that your statements as testified to in the form are not truthful.
Evictions can be stressful and scary. If you do not have the financial means to afford an attorney, I would suggest calling your local district court and asking them for the contact information for the free or low cost legal providers that assist tenants with housing issues. Your local district court is a great resource for this information, as well as information on where you might be able to receive financial assistance to pay your rent.
If you are a tenant and need assistance, we at Tilchin & Hall, P.C. can help. Give us a call at 248-349-6203 or send us a message below for more information.
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