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CDC orders another eviction moratorium for areas experiencing “substantial or high” transmission of COVID

Synopsis

On August 3, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a new, limited federal eviction moratorium through October 3 for communities with high COVID-19 transmission rates.


Key takeaways

  • At the direction of the President, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on August 3 issued a new, limited federal eviction moratorium through October 3. This action came just days after the previous moratorium expired on July 31.
  • The new moratorium is limited to communities experiencing “substantial or high” levels of COVID-19 transmission. Per the CDC’s tracking models, that covers the majority of counties in the U.S.
  • The Texas Apartment Association, National Apartment Association and other industry groups oppose this extension and favor fully funding and swiftly delivering rental assistance.
  • NAA is analyzing the latest order and updating compliance resources. As always, members should consult trusted legal counsel.
  • Some local communities may have additional protections in place for renters experiencing COVID hardships. Again, consulting trusted legal counsel is advised.
  • Given recent legal decisions involving previous orders, this order may be challenged through the courts. Prior to this latest order, NAA had already taken legal action against the federal government, seeking roughly $26 billion in damages to rental housing providers caused by the CDC’s previous orders. Learn more.

Days after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) oft-extended eviction moratorium expired on July 31, the agency on August 3 issued a new, limited federal eviction moratorium through October 3.

This action came at the urging of President Joe Biden after Congress failed to pass legislation authorizing an extension, and is being viewed as an effort to buy time for further possible Congressional action.

The new moratorium mirrors many of the provisions of the previous orders but is limited to communities experiencing “substantial or high” levels of COVID-19 transmission. Per the CDC’s tracking models, however, that covers the majority of counties in the U.S.

The Texas Apartment Association, National Apartment Association and other industry groups oppose this extension and favor fully funding and swiftly delivering rental assistance. Read TAA’s statement on this latest extension. 

TAA continues to advise members to use evictions as a last resort and explore all other avenues first.

Property owners/managers contemplating pursuing evictions should keep the below factors in mind:

  1. The eviction process is much more complicated than usual given overlapping local, state and federal requirements. In addition, eviction actions are under intense scrutiny from policymakers, tenant advocates, the media and others. Property owners and managers are encouraged to seek legal counsel and be mindful of how communications to residents and others may be perceived.
  2. Your property may be still subject to other limitations or requirements before an eviction may be pursued. For example, certain single-family properties with Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae financing are still under an eviction moratorium and several cities including Austin, Dallas and San Marcos still have restrictions. The Federal Housing Finance Agency has announced that residents of multifamily properties with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac must be given 30 days’ notice to vacate before being evicted for not paying rent. The FHFA says this requirement applies to all agency-backed multifamily properties, regardless of whether the loan is in forbearance.
  3. Before filing an eviction suit against a resident, TAA encourages you to pursue all other avenues including offering payment plans or working with the resident to seek assistance through programs such as the Texas Rent Relief program.* To date the Texas Rent Relief program has distributed more than $630 million in assistance. Texas Rent Relief Home Page | Texas Rent Relief. This tool can help you locate other rental assistance that may be available. Find rental assistance programs for your location | Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (consumerfinance.gov)
  4. If using the TAA Lease, consider whether to wait more than 24 hours after providing the Notice to Vacate before filing the case in JP court. Bear in mind that while there is disagreement, some have interpreted the CARES Act to still require a 30-day notice for certain properties or eligible residents.
  5. If you do give a notice to vacate and decide to pursue an eviction, communicate to the resident that there will be a legal process and they have the opportunity to have the case heard before a Justice of the Peace.
  6. If the case goes before a Justice of the Peace, consider participation in the Texas Eviction Diversion Program.* Texas Eviction Diversion Program (TEDP) (state.tx.us)

*Under Texas Supreme Court Emergency Order 39, 219078.pdf (txcourts.gov) courts are required to include information about the Eviction Diversion Program in the citation provided to residents, must confirm whether the plaintiff has any pending applications for rental assistance and discuss the eviction diversion program with both parties. Cases in which the renter has a pending application for rental assistance or the parties agree to participate in the Eviction Diversion program are abated for 60 days.

NAA is analyzing the latest CDC order and updating compliance resources. As always, members should consult trusted legal counsel. Keep in mind that some local communities may have additional protections in place for renters experiencing COVID hardships.

Given recent legal decisions involving previous orders, this order may be challenged through the courts. Prior to this latest order, NAA had already taken legal action against the federal government, seeking roughly $26 billion in damages to rental housing providers caused by the CDC’s previous orders. Learn more.

Helpful resources

Texas Rent Relief program dashboard (stats on amount of assistance paid out/in progress, and numbers of households assisted)

Texas Eviction Diversion Program (for stats on amount of assistance paid out/in progress, and number of households assisted, check the box in the upper left on the Texas Rent Relief Program dashboard page. Note that the Texas Eviction Diversion Program stats are a subset of the TRRP stats.)

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