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With just days to spare, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Monday that it is extending its pandemic-related nationwide moratorium on evictions until June 30. The moratorium was due to expire on March 31.
The extension means that people who are falling behind on rent due to job losses will have a little bit of breathing room. There are many ways that landlords can get around this moratorium, however.
The CDC first issued the moratorium in 2020 due to a belief that keeping people in their homes and out of more-crowded living situations would help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Due to prolonged economic upheaval, differing estimates place the number of Americans now behind on their rent at between 8 million and 12 million people, owing approximately $57 billion in unpaid rent.
To qualify for eviction relief, you must meet the following conditions:
You then must proactively present your landlord or rental company with the CDC's declaration form. Your landlord does not have to offer this relief to you.
There were fears that allowing the moratorium to expire could usher in a wave of evictions and homelessness. And landlords are opposed to the moratorium, arguing that they are suffering economic hardships as well by not being able to evict tenants.
However, there are many ways that a landlord may still be able to evict you during this time. For example, if you violate your lease for any other reason, such as for unsafe behavior, damaging the property, or breaking the law, your landlord will likely still evict you.
Additionally, if your lease is expiring, your landlord may still choose to not renew it, although in some jurisdictions they have to offer you the option to renew first.
Some fair housing advocates also argue that this order is difficult to enforce. If your landlord tries to evict you, yet you qualify for this relief, you will need to turn to a legal aid society or a private attorney for help.
There is also the U.S. Treasury Department's Emergency Rental Assistance Program, which is sending billions of dollars to states to help renters who are behind on their payments. This program can provide up to a year of rental assistance, which, unlike the CDC's moratorium, you do not have to pay back.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.