Landlords have been left disappointed yet again as the eviction moratorium, which has been active since the start of COVID-19, in various forms, has been extended through June 30, 2021. The government has not been easy on landlords during the COVID era.
At the outset, landlords had to deal with statewide eviction moratoriums. Now the federal government through the CDC (Center for Disease Control), has implemented its eviction moratorium, which continues to create hardship for landlords.
What Are the Details of the Eviction Moratorium?
The eviction moratorium allows renters behind on their rental payments who face eviction to fill out a declaration making several affirmative statements under oath. Renters must assert under oath that:
- They have used their best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing.
- They have an income lower than $99,000 per year (or $198,000 for couples filing jointly) for 2020, were not required to file taxes in 2019, or received a stimulus payment.
- They cannot pay full rent due to a substantial loss of income, loss of hours or wages, laid off or had extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses.
- Using best efforts to make a partial payment of rent on time.
- If evicted, they would likely become homeless and need to move to a shelter or home shared by other people.
If this declaration is filled out and delivered to the landlord or filed with the Court during the pendency of an eviction action, it could cause the landlord to be unable to complete the eviction.
What Can Landlords Do?
Currently, the eviction moratorium has been extended through June 30, 2021. It is anyone's guess whether the moratorium will be extended again in June, as has been the current pattern. This situation presents a very unfortunate situation for landlords. There is hope. Certain strategies have proven successful in providing landlords with relief. For example, the eviction moratorium should only relate to non-payment of rent, so if the lease has terminated or the tenant is violating some other term of the lease agreement, the moratorium will not be effective to prevent the eviction.
Furthermore, if the renter who filled out the declaration has not been affected by COVID, not made any good faith payments of rent, or has income such that they would likely not become homeless if evicted, these areas of inquiry could be used to show the Court that the declaration does not apply to this renter.
Despite the eviction moratorium, the simple truth is that evictions are still being processed, and landlords can successfully navigate this landscape with competent professional help. Contact our office online today or call us at (239) 970-6844 and schedule a consultation to find out what can be done in your case.