Laws pertaining to rental housing are established to protect both parties of the landlord-tenant relationship. Knowledge of and compliance with federal, state and local regulations is crucial for both landlords and tenants. Rental property owners want to run a profitable business and protect their investment. Tenants want to live peacefully in a rental home and protect their personal rights. Since the rental housing laws proposed in August, we've got plenty of updates. There are more answers to the industry’s most pressing questions surrounding the CDC’s eviction moratorium, and there are new state-specific changes regarding unlawful detainer forms, eviction appeals, and more.
New Answers on the Federal Eviction Moratorium
The order temporarily halts residential evictions of covered persons for nonpayment of rent during September 4, 2020, through December 31, 2020. This means that a landlord, owner of a residential property, or other person with a legal right to pursue an eviction or a possessory action cannot evict for nonpayment of rent any covered person from any residential property in any U.S. state or U.S. territory where the order applies.
Who is considered a covered Person?
A “covered person” is any tenant, lessee, or resident of a residential property who provides to their landlord, the owner of the residential property, or other person with a legal right to pursue eviction or a possessory action, a declaration under penalty of perjury that: (1) The individual has used best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing; (2) The individual either (i) expects 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), (ii) was not required to report any income in 2019 to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, or (iii) received an Economic Impact Payment (stimulus check) pursuant to Section 2201 of the CARES Act; (3) The individual is unable to pay the full rent or make a full housing payment due to substantial loss of household income, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, a lay-off, or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses; (4) The individual is 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 non discretionary expenses; and (5) Eviction would likely render the individual homeless— or force the individual to move into and live in close quarters in a new congregate or shared living setting—because the individual has no other available housing options.
Must every resident must apply for declarations?
To get moratorium protections, every resident listed on the lease needs to complete, sign, and provide a declaration.
Can I evict a non-covered person?
The Judicial Council has approved 3 new forms and one revised form for eviction cases, which requires the courts to abide by the new law and pursue unlawful detainers not associated with nonpayment due to COVID-19.
Can you can legally challenge resident declarations?
This order does not stop you from challenging the truthfulness of a renters declaration in court. However, these protections will still apply to a declared resident until the state municipal court decides your challenge.
Will state and local courts will remain open?
The moratorium shall not terminate or suspend state or local court operations, as it's not intended to prevent you from initiating an eviction, so long as it is not an eviction of a covered person.
Do my tenants have to pay me for past due rent?
Your tenants still owe rent and must continue to follow all rules in the lease. The eviction moratorium is temporary, and when all is said and done, your residents are still obligated to pay all past due rent and follow all the terms on their lease. Unfortunately, we’re still waiting to hear if here will be additional COVID-19 relief, and the House and Senate are still fighting over what bill to pass.