Landlords beware. Understand what you may do and what you cannot do under the new Order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The Order

Effective September 4, 2020 and through December 31, 2020 a landlord cannot pursue a residential eviction if the tenant is a “covered person”. This Order was made to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  

Meaning of Covered Person

A tenant is a covered person, if under the penalty of perjury, the tenant declares in writing the following: 

  1. The person used best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing;

  2. The person expects to earn less than $99,000 in annual income for the calendar year 2020 (or no more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return) or was not required to report any income in 2019 to the IRS or received a stimulus check pursuant to section 2201 of the CARES Act;

  3. The person is unable to pay the full rent due to substantial loss of household income, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, lay-off or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses;

  4. The person is using best efforts to make timely partial payments that are as close to the full payment as the person’s circumstances may permit, taking into account other non-discretionary expenses;

  5. Eviction would likely render the person homeless or force the person to move into and live in close quarters because the person has no other available housing options.

If For Non-Payment of Rent, Notice to Terminate, Evict, and Remove are Not Allowed

If the tenant is a covered person you cannot serve a notice terminating tenancy, file an eviction or act upon a previously obtained writ of restitution with the Sheriff.

The Tenant Is Still Responsible for Rent and Other Contractual Obligations

A tenant is still responsible to pay rent during the halt in evictions. This is not rent forgiveness. Landlords may still charge and collect fees, penalties, or interest as a result of the failure to pay rent. The landlord, however, cannot remove the tenant for failure to pay rent until 2021.


You Can Evict for Non-Rent Violations

Non-rent evictions can still be pursued. A landlord can still evict for a tenant’s acts that relate to: 

  1. Criminal activity;

  2. Threats to the health or safety of other tenants;

  3. Damage to property or a threat to damage property;

  4. Violations of building codes or health ordinances or other regulations on safety: or

  5. Violations of other contractual obligation not including rent, such as non-payment of fees, penalties or interest.

Penalties for Violation of the Order

Landlords need to be careful. You cannot evict for non-payment of rent. If you do you may face significant penalties, including fines and criminal charges. For a person violating the Order you may pay up to $100,000.00 in fines if your act did not cause a death or one year in jail, or both, or a fine of $250,000 if the violation results in death. Any organization violating the Order is subject to a fine of $200,000 per event if there is no death or $500,000 if the violation results in death.