The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention implemented a temporary eviction moratorium through the end of the year, protecting U.S. renters from losing their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Trump administration announced Tuesday.
Under this Order, a landlord, owner of a residential property, or other persons with a legal right to pursue eviction or possessory action, is prohibited from seeking to evict any covered person from any residential property in any jurisdiction to which this Order applies [Pennsylvania included] during the effective period of the Order. For purposes of this Order, “person” includes corporations, companies and partnerships as well as individuals.
The moratorium does not absolve renters of paying the rent. That money is still due to landlords. Renters should still attempt to make partial payments when they cannot afford to pay in full. Landlords can maintain legal actions to collect unpaid rent, collecting fees, penalties, or interest as a result of the failure to pay rent or other housing payment on a timely basis, under the terms of any applicable contract. The Order simply removes the eviction option from landlords’ available remedies for tenant non-payment defaults.
Landlords will still be permitted to evict tenants in certain cases, such as instances in which the tenant has destroyed property or poses a threat to the health or safety of neighbors.
There are still programs with funding to help tenants and landlords in need.
The Order includes a declaration for renters to sign and give their landlord. This Order will be enforced by Federal authorities and cooperating State and local authorities. Violators will be subject to criminal penalties. A person violating the Order may be subject to a fine of up to $100,000 if the violation does not result in a death or one year in jail, or both, or a fine of up to $250,000 if the violation results in a death or one year in jail, or both, or as otherwise provided by law. An organization violating this Order may be subject to a fine of up to $200,000 per event if the violation does not result in a death or $500,000 per event if the violation results in a death or as otherwise provided by law.
You can download the CDC Declaration Form here or you can use this link to build a declaration that fits your particular situation. All persons on the lease should sign and send the declaration to the landlord. We recommend that you have proof that you mailed or delivered the declaration form to your landlord. One good way is by using a Certificate of Mailing Form available from the U.S. Post Office.
Our real estate attorneys are here to help. Whether you are a landlord or renter, we can answer your questions.