This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced an unprecedented ban aimed at protecting most renters across the United States from eviction.
The move comes as the eviction moratorium put in place by Governor Tom Wolf expired on September first, and tenant protection measures were passed by Philadelphia City Council earlier this summer.
The CDC measure potentially keeps tenants who can’t pay their rent in the properties through December 31, 2020. The order is not automatic; it puts the burden on the tenant to sign a declaration, under penalty of perjury, that he/she is:
- using best efforts to obtain government assistance for rental payment
- under a maximum allowable annual income level
- unable to pay due to substantial loss of household income
- using best efforts to make timely partial payments
- likely to be homeless as a result
The declaration does not excuse tenants from paying back-rent, late fees and other charges later.
Evictions for non-monetary reasons can still proceed.
Many suggest that once the tenant signs the declaration form, the landlord should stop the eviction process at that time. But Hapco Philadelphia Attorney Paul Cohen believes the declaration only stops the process at the point of actual lockout. “We’re trying to get some clarification on it,” he told the Philadelphia Inquirer. The issue will likely be decided on a court-by-court and state-by-state basis.
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