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Federal Eviction Moratorium: Winter is coming

first posted: 2020-09-05 09:32:04.865896

On September 2nd, as rent were due and many eviction moratorium expired on September 1st, the President signed an executive order allowing the CDC to ban evictions until after the elections. While we would trust that President Trump is pro-landlord, this measure is causing a large group of tenants to stay longer without paying rent. This situation makes collective action from tenants more likely.

Measures: the CDC Form

The rules are described in this marketwatch articke. The tenants need to serve a form explaining that rent is not paid due to covid-19 related hardship.

The form states the following:

I certify under penalty of perjury, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1746, that the foregoing are true and correct:

  • I have used best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing;1
  • I either expect 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;
  • I am unable to pay my 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 extraordinary2 out-of-pocket medical expenses;
  • I am 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 I have no other available housing options.3
  • I understand that I must still pay rent or make a housing payment, and comply with other obligations that I may have under my tenancy, lease agreement, or similar contract. I further understand that fees, penalties, or interest for not paying rent or making a housing payment on time as required by my tenancy, lease agreement, or similar contract may still be charged or collected.
  • I further understand that at the end of this temporary halt on evictions on December 31, 2020, my housing provider may require payment in full for all payments not made prior to and during the temporary halt and failure to pay may make me subject to eviction pursuant to state and local laws.

I understand that any false or misleading statements or omissions may result in criminal and civil actions for fines, penalties, damages, or imprisonment.

Winter is coming

As winter is coming, the situation will require a prolongation into Q1 2021.


Electioneering at Play

This executive order can be seen as a way to preempt democrats from easily collecting revendicative renters votes. Democrat crisis management could be more harmful to landlord's long term interest.

Another point is that this measure, while it protects many tenants who are facing hardship, is not protecting tenants who decide not to pay for opportunistic and ideological reasons: only tenants facing covid19 hardship are protected from eviction.

The federal protection was made to apply only in states that have not already enacted tenant protection measures. This may cause some tenants to be evicted in blue states where to eviction rules are different. In such case, the tenant may blame his local government and turn pro-Trump.

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