CDC, White House announce national eviction moratorium
By Beth Wanless, Ohio REALTORS Director of Government Affairs
On Sept. 1, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) surprising the nation when they announced an order to halt residential evictions. The CDC was given authority under the direction of the White House to explore the eviction issue and how it plays with the larger health crisis of COVID-19. This order went into effect on Sept. 4, 2020 and is in effect until Dec. 31, 2020. The order applies to all housing across the nation (except vacant and abandoned properties).
A tenant must satisfy some criteria in order to qualify for the moratorium. The tenant(s) must certify under perjury of law the tenant:
- Tried to obtain government assistance (federal, state, or local funding or housing programs),
- Earns or expects to earn less than $99,000 (single) or $198,000 (joint) in 2020, or received CARES payment, or was not required to report income in past year,
- Is experiencing financial hardship due to COVID,
- Promises to try to pay what they can in rent,
- Would likely become homeless or has no other housing option if evicted.
Evictions of tenants may still be filed and take place for criminal activity, danger or threat to the health and safety of other tenants, property damage, or other lease obligations (smoking, having a restricted breed of animal, etc.).
The CDC order does not prevent housing providers from charging late fees, interest or other penalties. Additionally, the tenant is responsible for paying back-rent once the moratorium ends. This could lead to a sizable repayment for many tenants who are already facing serious financial challenges.
The CDC order is to be enforced by federal, state and local authorities and housing providers who fail to follow the order may face up to $500,000 in fines per instance, or even spend one year in jail.
Ohio REALTORS strongly OPPOSES this eviction ban. The order fails to consider the strain this will put on property owners as they must continue to meet financial obligations such as mortgage payments, utilities, insurance, maintenance and staff if applicable. We assert emergency rental assistance paid directly to the housing provider is the best method to deal with an eviction crisis due to COVID. By refusing to understand the whole picture of the landlord’s financial responsibilities, the CDC unfairly puts the financial burden on the housing provider, many of whom are mom and pop owners who depend on the monthly rent checks to keep properties properly operating.
The National Association of REALTORS has already responded to federal lawmakers outlining their opposition to the order. CLICK HERE to read NAR's letter.
Stay tuned as we learn more about this eviction moratorium and how it impacts Ohio REALTORS and their clients.