Real Estate Update: CDC Announces COVID-19 Four-Month Residential Eviction Moratorium

On September 1, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), announced an order imposing a temporary moratorium on residential evictions to halt the further spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (“COVID-19”) (“Order”). Effective September 4, 2020, the Order prohibits residential evictions of qualifying tenants through December 31, 2020.

The CDC based the Order on Section 361 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. Ch. 6A) and on 42 CFR § 70.2 which reads:

Measures in the event of inadequate local control. Whenever the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determines that the measures taken by health authorities of any State or possession (including political subdivisions thereof) are insufficient to prevent the spread of any of the communicable diseases from such State or possession to any other State or possession, he/she may take such measures to prevent such spread of the diseases as he/she deems reasonably necessary, including inspection, fumigation, disinfection, sanitation, pest extermination, and destruction of animals or articles believed to be sources of infection.

The Order does not apply in any state, local, territorial, or tribal jurisdiction that has an existing eviction moratorium providing equal or greater public health protections than are set forth in the Order. Additionally, the Order does not prevent any jurisdiction from imposing stricter or additional public health protections than those set forth in the Order.

The Order applies to residential tenants who provide their landlord with a declaration (“Declaration”) under penalty of perjury indicating that the tenant:

  • Has used best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing.
  • Satisfies one of the following income qualifications because the tenant:
    • expects to earn no more than $99,000 in annual income for calendar year 2020 (or no more than $198,000 if filing jointly); or
    • was not required to report any income to the Internal Revenue Service for calendar year 2019; or
    • received a stimulus check under the CARES ACT.
  • Is unable to pay the full amount of its rent due to:
    • a substantial loss of household income;
    • a reduction in work hours or wages;
    • a lay-off; or
    • extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses.
  • Is using best efforts to pay as much of its rental obligation as possible, after considering other nondiscretionary expenses.
  • Would be rendered homeless or forced to move into a shared-living setting as the result of an eviction.

The Order defines residential property broadly as any property leased for residential purposes, including any house, building, Mobile home or land in a mobile home park, or similar dwelling. The Order is not applicable to any hotel, motel, guest house rented on a temporary or seasonal basis.

The Order provides significant penalties for violating landlords, which includes individuals and entities, ranging from fines and jail time.

Patrick Ellis is a Traverse City, Michigan-based attorney counseling businesses across numerous industries and stages of maturity regarding corporate formations and governance, investment financing, commercial and strategic transactions, real estate, and day-to-day, operational and legal matters. If you have any questions about the issues addressed in this post, or if you would like a copy of any of the materials mentioned in it, please contact:

Patrick M. Ellis, Esq.
Phone: (231) 947-7900
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