On 9/1/20, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) issued an order banning on certain residential evictions through the end of 2020. As a result, landlords cannot evict renters who certify that they are unable to pay rent because of the COVID pandemic.
The protections resulting from the CDC’s ban are not automatic, and in order to qualify you must: (1) make less than $99,000 (or $198,000 if you file a joint tax return); (2) be unable to make full rent “due to substantial loss of household income, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, a lay-off, or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses”; (3) be making an effort to make timely, partial rent payments; (4) have used your “best efforts” to seek out and apply for all available state or local rental assistance programs; and (5) be at risk of homelessness or at risk of having to double up with others in cramped, close quarters if you were to be evicted,
Renters who meet all five criteria should immediately sign a declaration attesting to those factors and give it to their landlord as soon as possible. The CDC’s website provides this link to a form of Declaration for tenants to use.
There is no requirement that such a Declaration be notarized. The CDC order only requires tenants to sign the declaration under penalty of perjury, pursuant to 28 United States Code section 1746; therefore, a Declaration will be sufficient if it states words similar to the following: “I declare (or certify, verify, or state) under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America that the foregoing is true and correct. Executed on (date). (Signature).”
Tenants do not have to provide their landlord with proof that they meet all five criteria; however, tenants will likely need to provide proof to the court if the landlord proceeds with an eviction proceeding despite having been provided with a Declaration by the tenant.
Despite the CDC’s order, landlords can still evict tenants for the following reasons: (A) engaging in criminal activity while on the premises; (B) threatening the health and safety of other residents; (C) damaging or posing an immediate and significant risk of damage to property; (D) violating any applicable building code, health ordinance, or similar regulation relating to health and safety; and (E) violating any other contractual obligation besides nonpayment of rent or similar housing-related payment (including nonpayment or late payment of fees, penalties, or interest).