In March, due to the coronavirus pandemic and the economic disadvantage it placed many Floridians, the Governor of Florida issued a moratorium on all mortgage foreclosure and eviction causes of action in the state. Although this executive order has now expired, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a new order, “Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions to Prevent the Further Spread of COVID-19.
What Does CDC’s “Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions to Prevent the Further Spread of COVID-19” Do?
As the title suggests, this federal order halts residential evictions of covered persons for nonpayment of rent during September 4, 2020 through December 31, 2020. In other words, neither a landlord nor an owner of a residential property may evict any covered person from any residential property in any U.S. state or U.S. territory where this order applies.
Who is Considered a “Covered Person”?
Under this new order, a “covered person” is any tenant, lessee, or a resident of a residential property who provides either their landlord or the owner of the residential property, a signed declaration under penalty of perjury. In this declaration, it is asserted that:
- The individual has used best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing;
- The individual either:
- Expects to earn no more than $99,000 in annual income for the year of 2020 (or no more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return);
- Was not required to report any income in 2019; or
- Received an Economic Impact Payment (stimulus check) pursuant to the CARES Act.
- 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 nondiscretionary expenses); and
- Due to no other available housing options, 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.
How Can Eligible Individuals Use This Protection?
A tenant, lessee, or resident of a residential property must provide a signed copy of a declaration with the above-mentioned assertions, to his or her landlord or owner of the residential property. This may be transmitted either electronically or by hard copy. The CDC has issued a declaration form that is compliant with the order in its website. However, as long as the assertions mentioned above are present, any written document signed by an eligible individual will suffice. Each adult listed on the lease, rental agreement, or housing contract should complete and sign a declaration and provide it to their landlord.