The coronavirus pandemic has caused a countrywide economic downturn, and one of the most vulnerable groups are renters. Recognizing this, many city and state officials have enacted temporary measures to provide relief, however legal protections like eviction moratoriums are beginning to expire.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides a temporary pause on evictions for most residents in federally-subsidized housing, however this federal protection is set to end on July 25th. Many tenants will have to hope for help on a state or local level, whether in the form of eviction moratorium extensions or other rent relief programs. We’ve answered a few questions that may arise in the meantime.
Questions about the coronavirus pandemic?
Visit the Coronavirus Legal Center and ask a lawyer today.
What is an eviction moratorium?
An eviction moratorium is an ordinance that temporarily bans the eviction of tenants, residential and/or commercial (depending on how the ordinance is written), who have suffered a loss of income or out-of-pocket medical expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some states have enacted eviction moratoriums for the entire state, while others only have city/county protections available for renters.
What is the end date of the moratorium?
You should check your local and state government websites for official communications regarding eviction moratoriums. For example, Massachusetts’ moratorium ends August 18th (unless it is extended), but the city of Boston has extended the moratorium until the end of year for residents living in affordable housing. Some states have extended their statewide moratorium. Recently, Pennsylvania’s Governor Tom Wolf extended the moratorium until August 31st. A local landlord-tenant lawyer can help you understand the dates that apply to your property.
Are there any exceptions to an eviction moratorium?
Most eviction moratoriums temporarily ban all non-essential evictions with few exceptions. The exceptions to the moratorium are evictions due to criminal activity and those necessary for health & safety reasons. The moratorium temporarily halts no-cause evictions from happening.
What other government relief is there for renters?
A few states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Vermont have set up programs where they use federal relief aid from the CARES Act to pay landlords a tenant’s back rent in a lump sum. It is recommended that you check your state or county’s website for government rent relief. If neither of these are available to assist you, you can ask your landlord for a Rent Payment Plan by writing a Hardship Letter that outlines your financial situation.
What government relief is available for landlords with delinquent rent?
Similar to renters’ assistance, landlords may be eligible for assistance if the rental unit they own has delinquent rent. Check your state or county website, or talk to a lawyer to understand what your options may be.
When it comes to late rent, you can send a Late Rent Notice to document missed payments, and if the moratorium has been ended in your local area, you may proceed with an Eviction Notice starting June 25th. Note that for housing covered under the federal moratorium, you are required to provide 30 days notice to vacate before filing a complaint with the court.
If you have any questions regarding late rent payments or the overall eviction process, it is recommended that you speak with an attorney.
This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.