Yesterday, the CDC announced a new targeted eviction moratorium. This new order temporarily halts evictions in localities experiencing substantial or high levels of community transmission of COVID-19, as defined by the CDC, through October 3, 2021. As was the case before, the prohibition on eviction is limited to non-payment of rent and does not relieve any individual from the obligation to pay rent or comply with their lease. The order does not preclude charging or collecting fees, penalties, or interest under the terms of the existing lease.
What does this new moratorium mean for your business? First, the order only applies to localities that are experiencing substantial or high levels of COVID-19 transmission. To see if your locality is covered by the moratorium, click here. You will need to check often. Even if a locality is not initially covered by this order, any shift into the categories of substantial or high levels of community transmission while this order is in effect, will then bring that locality under the order. Likewise, if a locality that is covered by this order no longer experiences substantial or high levels of community transmission for 14 consecutive days, then this order will no longer apply in that locality, unless and until that locality again experiences substantial or high levels of community transmission while this order is still in effect.
Once you establish whether your locality is covered by the moratorium, a tenant must still establish that he or she is a covered person by declaring the following:
- The individual has used best efforts to obtain all governmental assistance for rent or housing;
- The individual either (i) earned no more than $99,000 (or $198,000 if filing jointly) in Calendar Year 2020 or expects to earn no more than $99,000 in annual income for Calendar Year 2021 (or no more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return), (ii) was not required to report any income in 2020 to the IRS, or (iii) received an Economic Impact Payment (stimulus check);
- 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 layoff, or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses;
- The individual is using best efforts to make a timely partial rent payments that are as close to the full rent payment as the individual’s circumstances may permit, taking into account other nondiscretionary expenses;
- Eviction would likely render the individual homeless – or force the individual to move into and reside in close quarters in a new congregate or shared living setting – because the individual has no other available housing options; and
- The individual resides in a locality experiencing substantial or high rates of community transmission levels of COVID-19 as defined by CDC.
Finally, any evictions for nonpayment of rent initiated prior to this order (e.g., August 3, 2021), but not yet completed, are now subject to this order. Please remember that the Virginia Rent Relief Program still has plenty of funds available to cover rent payments for tenants who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. More information on this nationally recognized program, and how to apply, is available here.