The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (the CDC) halt in residential evictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 (the “Order”) expired on December 31, 2020. On December 21, 2020, Congress extended the Order through January 31, 2021. The Order covers individuals failing to pay rent during the Order’s effective timeframe and eviction proceedings initiated prior to September 4, 2020, but not yet executed. On January 20, 2021, President Biden signed an executive order directing the CDC to extend the Order through at least March 31, 2021.
Under the Order, a residential landlord may not evict individuals covered under the Order for nonpayment of rent. A “covered person” means any “tenant, lease, or resident of a residential property who provides to their landlord, the owner of the residential property, a declaration under penalty of perjury” of their qualifications; in other words, a tenant that cannot pay rent due to substantial loss of household income. The CDC provided a sample form for tenants to provide their landlord (available at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/declaration-form.pdf).
A landlord may still evict tenants for reasons other than for nonpayment of rent—for example, violating other contractual obligations of the lease or threatening the health and safety of other residents. Landlords are also entitled to rent payments from “covered persons” under the Order. Upon the expiration of the Order, if tenants cannot pay unpaid rent, fees, or penalties incurred during the period of the Order, landlords may evict such tenants. Landlords may begin eviction proceedings prior to the Order expiration, provided the actual eviction does not occur during the Order’s time period.
State and local ordinances may add further confusion as to when a landlord may evict a residential tenant. Until all of the consolidated rules are terminated or expire, residential evictions remain an untested, and unclarified, legal issue. If you have questions regarding evictions, please contact us at Rosenblatt Law Firm.