Federal Register Notice: Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions to Prevent the Further Spread of COVID-19

Last updated: September 8, 2020 – 11:50 AM



On September 1st, 37 days after the expiration of the CARES Act moratorium, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released an agency order, halting evictions for some renters who meet specific criteria. The CDC issued the agency order citing its authorities provided by 42 U.S.C. 264 and 42 C.F.R. 70.2 to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The agency order goes into effect on September 4, 2020 and will run through December 31, 2020.

Frequently Asked Questions:
Q. Does this agency order provide funding for rental assistance or otherwise provide rent relief?
A. No. Renters will continue to owe any unpaid rent amounts that have accrued so far and any additional amounts that come due.

Q. Does the agency order prohibit landlords from charging fees or other penalties for non-payment of rent?
A. No. The agency order does not preclude landlords from charging or collecting fees, penalties or interest from a tenant for failing to pay their rent, regardless of the financial hardships they may be facing during the pandemic.

Q. Does the agency action mean that all renters are safe from eviction?
A. No. Only certain renters are eligible for the eviction suspension and in order to avail themselves of the eviction suspension protection, they must provide their landlord a legal declaration form, attesting—under penalty of perjury with the threat of prosecution, jail time, or fines for lying, misleading, or omitting important information —that:
• The renter either i) expects to earn less than $99,000 in 2020 (or no more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return), ii) was not required to file taxes in 2019, or iii) received a stimulus check provided by the CARES Act; The renter used their “best efforts” in trying to obtain “all available government assistance for rent or housing”;
• The renter cannot pay the full amount of their rent because of a substantial loss in income, loss of employment or work hours, or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses;
• The renter is still making partial rent payments using their “best effort” to make payments that are as close to the full rental amount as possible; and
• If the renter were evicted, they would likely become homeless or have to “double up” with another household.
Under the agency order, landlords would still be able to file evictions, claiming that their renters did not meet these requirements, placing the burden on renters to prove otherwise. Renters would be subject to
frivolous litigation as landlords try to remove them for their homes even after they have met all the conditions required by the order. It is unclear how courts would handle such cases and how they would determine whether or not renters fully met all of these stipulations. A renter who has been determined to have perjured themselves by a court could face criminal penalties, including substantial fines and even a year in jail.

Q. Does the agency order prevent evictions for other reasons other than on-payment of rent?
A. No. Renters can still be evicted for other reasons, such as violating conditions of their lease (other than timely payment of rent), damaging property, or engaging in criminal activity. Renters with leases that have expired could also be evicted if their landlord refuses to renew the lease.

If you or someone you know is facing eviction or threatened with eviction please reach out to MTO at 773-292-4988 Monday-Friday 1pm to 5pm or email tenants-rights. org. We can assist you in exercising your rights!!

All 8 Comments

  1. I became homeless at the beginning of the pandemic, my personal belongings’ went in a storage facility which I much needed. I old keep my clean clothes etc there and every few days I would switch them out. I had lost my job and had to pay my excessive late fees out of my firs stimlus check. I was locked out for a month also. It happened again and I told them l would be paying again in two weeks as m next stimulus was on its way. They told me when I went to pay it they auctioned my belongings the day prior. Th same company yet a different location gave tenants an exception during Covid. I am devistated, as they knew my situation. Force madure which means no fault of your own, due to an act of god was not in the contract. The contract was no longer valid due to Covid. I was robbed of my personal belongings I need to survive. Please give me advice.

    1. I am not sure that I entirely understand what happened. I am so sorry that you have lost your property. The storage facility is separate from apartment or home that you rented. I am not sure what to suggest as it sounds like it is more of a commercial agreement. What did you agreement with the company state regarding late payments. On a different note, If you live in suburban Cook County, they have a rental assistance program that you might be eligible for that could help you to move into a new place. Here is a link to the hotline 877-426-6515.

    1. The first step in the eviction process is for the landlord to serve you with a notice to pay rent or to comply with the lease or a 30 “no cause” notice.

      During COVID if the landlord is evicting you for failure to pay rent, the landlord must first send you a declaration letter. If you have been impacted by COVID, cannot pay rent in full, make less than $99,000 and sign the declaration, under the current Governor’s moratorium the landlord cannot proceed with the eviction. Please read through the declaration as you are attesting to the facts and could be held liable for perjury if you sign it and it is not true

      If you do not fill out the declaration the landlord can give you a 5 day notice to pay or vacate.

      Once the 5-days have passed then the landlord can get a court date and you will a summons to court where you can have an attorney and argue the case. Most tenants who do not have legal counsel lose.

      If the judge rules against you then the judge will issue an order of possession and give you a certain amount of time to move. If you do mot move in that time then the landlord can file the order with the sheriff who will come and forcibly evict you by changing the locks.

  2. Need some guidance. The new landlord just bought the building and is requesting us to move out of our apartment. Because of the COVID 19 situation AND upcoming winter season, can a new landlord ask current tenants to move out?

    1. I do not know all the situation but 1. The landlord has to give you a written notice to terminate the agreement. 2. If you have a lease the landlord must wait until the end of the lease to termnate, 3. The landlord has to give you sufficient time to move and that will depend on how long you have lived on the premises. Please call out hotline at 773-292-4988 to get more help.

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