A national moratorium on suspension is back in force, this time with much broader protection than the now expired ban on deportation. While the previous law only covered certain types of real estate, the new moratorium effectively protects everyone living in one of the country’s 43 million rental households, regardless of where they live.
But the new ban on expulsions, which took effect on September 1 and will expire on December 31, did not come from Congress or the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Instead, it was issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, using authority granted to the federal government in a 1944 public health law..
Unlike previous federal measures, the CDC’s order requires renters who end up renting to file a return with their landlord stating that they have lost income due to the coronavirus pandemic and have sought financial support and some other circumstances.
We are digging into this new deportation moratorium to unpack who is covered, what may not be covered and what you need to do now if you are worried about being deported. In addition, we look at what other resources and options are available to help you stay in your home. We update this story frequently.
What the new deportation ban does (and does not) do
The CDC’s new order stops deportations across the United States for anyone who has lost income due to the coronavirus pandemic and has fallen behind on rent. It does not prohibit late fees, nor does it release tenants from the rent they owe. Nor does it create any kind of financial fund to help tenants get stuck – a protection that some say is crucial to preventing a massive wave of deportations when the ban ends.
The order only cancels exclusions for not paying rent. Rental offenses for other offenses – criminal conduct, becoming a nuisance, etc. – are still enforceable with expulsion. And it only protects tenants who earn less than $ 99,000 a year ($ 198,000 for shared archives). Finally, tenants must print and sign a declaration stating that they are entitled to protection (continue reading for more information on these requirements).
Here’s what you need to explain to qualify for protection
The order requires tenants who are subject to deportation to meet five requirements, which they must declare, under penalty of perjury, by copying, signing and delivering an explanation to the landlord. The full text of the declaration is attached at the bottom of the CDC’s order, but the five qualifications are brief:
- You have used “best efforts” to seek financial support.
- You do not expect to earn more than $ 99,000 by 2020 (or no more than $ 198,000 if you file jointly).
- You can not pay the full rent due to lost income or “extraordinary” medical expenses.
- You have tried to pay as much of your rent as quickly as possible.
- If you are thrown away, you would probably become homeless and have to live in a shelter or other cramped place.
It is not yet entirely clear what will happen if your landlord chooses to challenge or deny your explanation. The New York Times spoke with both legal experts and authorities who helped draft the order, and they suggest that it may be up to a housing court to decide whether or not you qualify. If your landlord challenges your request, they recommend that you provide “” reasonable “details to prove you are eligible.” This may include bank statements and other documents.
The CDC’s order does not change state laws
Any state-level bans that still apply will remain in place as they are as broad or broader than those set by the CDC. To help you find out the status of deportation protection in your state, the Nolo.com legal services website has an updated list of state deportation regulations.
Ask your landlord for a reduction or extension
In almost all cases, it is probably best to draw up an agreement with your landlord or leasing agency, if possible. Although some landlords have reportedly responded to the pandemic by putting even greater pressure on tenants to pay, other landlords have increased at the time, and some have gone so far as to stop paying rent for a period.
It may be worth contacting your landlord to see if you can pay less rent in the coming months, or spread payments for the coming months to rent out next year. Just be careful with landlords who make excessive demands. For example, some have asked tenants to turn over their $ 1,200 stimulus check or some money received from charity as a condition of not submitting an expulsion order. Do not agree to unreasonable terms or conditions that you will not be able to meet, especially if your city or state has adopted protection against such arrangements.
What you can do if you are having financial difficulties right now
If you need immediate protection or emergency housing, the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development maintains a list of housing organizations in your area. Select your state from the drop-down menu for a list of resources near you.
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, many states and cities have expanded their available financial support to those struggling to pay rent. To see which programs may be close to you, select your country on the interactive map maintained by the National Low Income Housing Association.
Ideell 211.org connects those who need help with important community services in their area and has a specific portal for pandemic help. If you have problems with your food budget or pay your housing bills, you can use 211.org’s online search tool or call 211 on your phone to talk to someone who can try to help.
JustShelter.org is a non-profit organization that puts tenants who are exposed to emissions in contact with local organizations that can help them stay in their homes or, in the worst case, find emergency housing.
The online chatbot’s legal services on DoNotPay.com have oneas it stands will identify which of the laws, regulations and measures cover rents and expulsions that apply to you based on your location.
If you are a serious criminal or know that you will be soon, you may want to consult a lawyer to better understand how the laws in your area apply to your situation. Legal Aid provides lawyers free of charge to qualified clients who need assistance with civil cases such as deportations. You can find the nearest legal aid office using this search tool.
Finally, if you can no longer afford to rent your current home, relocation may be an option. Average rental rates have been declining across the United States since February, according to a Zillow report in August. Apps like Zillow, Trulia and Zumper can help you find something more affordable. Just be aware that you may still be held liable for any sublease that you are currently liable for and any rent that occurs until the end of your lease (whether you have one), whether you leave or not.