The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on everything from the health of Americans, job stability, mortgage and rent payment to college admissions.
Recovery has been slow to come but fortunately many are getting back on track.
If you can’t afford your rent and are facing eviction, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made it illegal for landlords across the U.S. to evict tenants who can’t afford to pay their rent.
The moratorium seeks to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. You may be able to stay at the place where you live through June 30, 2021, if you qualify.
Not all states are complying with the moratorium with recent evictions taking place but if you’re facing eviction, you should still attempt to use this resource.
New CFPB Rule for tenants facing eviction
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has announced a new rule to strengthen the federal eviction moratorium’s enforcement. Under the rule, debt collectors can be prosecuted for failing to inform tenants of protections that may be available to them. Debt collectors can also be prosecuted for misrepresenting a tenant’s eligibility under the CDC order.
While landlords and residential property owners are not defined as “debt collectors” under the CFPB’s rule, landlords and residential property owners that hire debt collectors or attorneys to conduct the eviction proceedings may also be categorized as “debt collectors” under the FDCPA.
If you are facing an eviction here is what to do
- Complete this CDC form and present it to your landlord.
- Once the landlord receives the form they cannot evict you. However, landlords are allowed to tack on late fees.
- Tenants who sign the form and deliver it to landlords don’t need to provide any other documentation.
It applies only when tenants present their landlords with a signed declaration. To sign the declaration, a tenant must be able to meet essential criteria.
If you are facing an eviction court date here is what to do
- Tenants that have a court date for eviction, should make sure to show up and present the CDC form to the court in order to halt the eviction. Tenants should be prepared to provide reasonable proof that they have tried to use all of the assistance laid out in the CDC’s order.
- Whether it’s by telephone, over video, or in-person — show up at the hearing. When tenants don’t show up, they will automatically get a default judgment against the
There is one major caveat to the CDC order – Renters are still required to pay their missed rent in full when the order lifts on June 30, 2021.
Check your state’s policy on eviction during COVID19, they may have its own moratorium on evictions.
Tenants can also find low-cost or free legal help with an eviction in your state at Lawhelp.org.
Relief for struggling landlords
We cannot forget landlords who may be struggling due to unpaid rent. There are several programs that can landlords pay their bills.
Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) under the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. The funds has been distributed directly to the states. Landlords can request assistance on behalf of their tenants.
For landlords to access ERAP funds for tenants who are unable to pay rent, they are required to:
- Get the tenant’s signature on the application (electronic signatures are acceptable)
- Share all correspondence and paperwork with tenants
- Use the funds for current rent or back rent
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). Landlords who operate as sole proprietors or corporations may be able to apply for PUA benefits in their state. PUA was part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and covered up to 57 weeks of lost wages.
Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). Small business landlords are eligible to apply for an EIDL loan that may not have to be repaid until one year from the loan date. The loans are low-interest to provide temporary relief for the loss of income due to COVID-19.
Forbearance. Pause your mortgage payments if you have a government-backed mortgage loan. Available loans include loans backed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Federal Housing Administration, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or the U.S. Department of Agriculture.