An Important Update for Owners and Managers of Rental Property

by Tyler Craddock, Vice President of Government Affairs, LSG

At Legislative Strategies Group (LSG), we work with a number of real estate clients. One issue we have tracked closely is the ongoing Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) moratorium on evictions and its impact on housing providers. 

In the latest developments, the CDC has extended the federal eviction moratorium by 90 days. The moratorium was set to expire on March 31, 2021. That date is now June 30, 2021. 

In issuing the extension, CDC added the following to the “Applicability” section:  

  • A signed declaration submitted under a previous order remains valid notwithstanding the issuance of this extended and modified order, and covered persons do not need to submit a new declaration under this Order. 
  • Evictions for nonpayment of rent initiated prior to September 4, 2020, but not yet completed are subject to this Order, but those that were completed before September 4, 2020, are not subject to the Order. 
  • While the Order does not prohibit evictions for engaging in criminal activity while on the leased premises, covered persons may not be evicted on the sole basis that they are alleged to have committed the crime of trespass (or similar state-law offense) where the underlying activity is a covered person remaining in a residential property despite nonpayment of rent.  
  • Individuals who are confirmed to have, who have been exposed to, or who might have COVID-19 and take reasonable precautions to not spread the disease should not be evicted on grounds that they pose a health or safety threat to other residents. 

In addition, with regard to the declaration form, they add this language: “In some circumstances, it may be appropriate for one member of the residence to provide an executed declaration on behalf of the other adult residents who are party to the lease, rental agreement, or housing contract.” Such circumstances are not spelled out in the order. 

This language remains in the order: “Nothing in this Order precludes evictions based on a tenant, lessee, or resident: (1) Engaging in criminal activity while on the premises; (2) threatening the health or safety of other residents; (3) damaging or posing an immediate and significant risk of damage to property; (4) violating any applicable building code, health ordinance, or similar regulation relating to health and safety; or (5) violating any other contractual obligation, other than the timely payment of rent or similar housing-related payment (including non-payment or late payment of fees, penalties, or interest).” 

In addition, the White House released a statement regarding the extension. Of note, is that the Administration will be engaging the CFPB and FTC on behalf of renters: 

The CFPB is taking complaints from tenants about problems with debt collectors, including attorneys seeking to evict tenants in violation of the CDC eviction moratorium. Consumers can submit a complaint at www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/ or by calling (855) 411-2372 

The CFPB will monitor and investigate eviction practices to ensure that companies are complying with the law. Evicting tenants in violation of the CDC, state, or local moratoria, or threatening to evict them without apprising them of their legal rights under such moratoria, may violate the law. 

…. 

The FTC will be monitoring and investigating eviction practices to ensure that companies are complying with the law. Evicting tenants in violation of the CDC, state, or local moratoria, or threatening to evict them without apprising them of their legal rights under such moratoria, may violate the law. 

Of course, every state’s laws and procedures will intersect with the CDC edicts differently. That means the most important call a property owner or manager who is contemplating eviction can make is to their attorney to ensure that their course of action is within the bounds of both state and federal law.  

Legislative Strategies Group (LSG) is a full-service lobbying firm specializing in federal, state and local governmental affairs, issue development, grassroots campaigns, and strategic development. For more information visit LSGteam.com or call (804) 673-5684.