CDC Issues Order Temporarily Halting Residential Evictions
By Noah C. Hagan, ICLE | 09/03/20

On September 1, 2020, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an order that halts certain residential evictions through December 31, 2020. (The CARES Act eviction moratorium expired on July 24, 2020. Pub L 116-136, 134 Stat 281 (2020).) The order cites the Public Health Service Act, 42 USC 264, as authority for this order. The order notes that “COVID-19 presents a historic threat to public health” and that eviction moratoria can be an effective public health measure used in the context of a pandemic to prevent the spread of disease.

Under the order, a landlord or owner of a residential property may not evict any “covered person” from any residential property. A “covered person” is any tenant, lessee, or resident who provides to their landlord a declaration that

  • they have used their best efforts to obtain government assistance for rent;
  • they expect to earn no more than $99,000 in 2020, were not required to report any income in 2019, or received a stimulus check under the CARES Act;
  • they are unable to pay the full rent due to a substantial loss of income, reduced work hours, layoff, or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses;
  • they are using their best efforts to make timely partial payments as close to the full payment as circumstances permit; and
  • eviction would likely render them homeless or force them to move into and live in close quarters in a shared housing situation.

A sample declaration is attached to the order.

The order does not apply in jurisdictions with a moratorium on residential evictions that provides the same or greater level of public health protection than the requirements of the order.

The order notes that it does not relieve tenants of the obligation to pay rent or comply with any other obligations contained in the lease and that it does not preclude the charging or collecting of fees, penalties, or interest as a result of failure to pay rent. In addition, the order notes that it does not preclude evictions based on engaging in criminal activity on the premises, threatening the health and safety of other residents, posing a significant risk of damage to property, violating any applicable building code or health ordinance, or violating any other contractual obligation.

The order provides that persons violating the order may be subject to a fine of up to $100,000 ($250,000 if the violation results in death), one year in jail, or both.

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