A National Eviction Moratorium

What it means

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 5, 2020—The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has ordered a nationwide halt to residential evictions for the rest of the year 2020, following an August 8 executive order from President Trump. The CDC order, effective September 4, doesn’t yet apply in Massachusetts. That’s because our current State moratorium already affords more protection against evictions than the CDC order. However that order will take effect here too if the State moratorium runs out before Dec. 31, 2020.

To invoke the CDC’s order a tenant must make a declaration to the landlord or manager under penalty of perjury. The Feds have provided a Declaration form for convenience.

A team at Suffolk Law is developing an online tool to generate a CDC eviction moratorium verification letter. As soon as it is ready for public use, we will post it as an update to this article.

Whatever form you use, your declaration must be made under under pains and penalty of perjury and must state that:

(1) You’ve tried your best to obtain government assistance for rent or housing

(2) Your 2020 individual income is $99,000 or less (twice that amount for households filing joint tax returns)

(3) You can’t pay the full rent or mortgage payment due to lost income or major medical expenses

(4) You’re trying your best to make timely partial payments 

(5) Eviction would likely make you homeless or forced to live in crowded conditions 

There are penalties for owners violating the order—fines and even jail time are possible. The CDC order cautions that “a residential property, or other person with a legal right to pursue eviction or possessory action, shall not evict any covered person from any residential property in any jurisdiction to which this Order applies during the effective period of the Order. Nothing in this Order precludes the charging or collecting of fees, penalties, or interest as a result of the failure to pay rent or other housing payment on a timely basis.”

The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) has provided summaries how the moratorium will work. ACT is an NLIHC affiliate.