Jim Valentine: CDC temporary eviction halt

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

The director for the Centers for Disease Control just signed an extension to the order Temporary Halt In Residential Evictions To Prevent The Further Spread Of COVID-19.

With all of the talk of moratoriums on evictions on the state and national levels, and federally backed loans we thought it time to probe into the reality of this temporary halt. This is not the Gov. Sisolak order for Nevada also recently extended.

The first thing to recognize is that this is not a blanket prohibition against evictions. To qualify for not being evicted, one must be a “Covered Person.”

A “Covered Person” is any tenant that provides their landlord a declaration under penalty of perjury that:

1.  The individual has used best efforts to obtain governmental assistance for rent or housing;

2. the individual has either (i) earned no more than $99,000 ($198,000 jointly) in 2020 or expects to earn no more than $99,000 ($198,000 jointly) in 2021, (ii) was not required to report any 2020 income to IRS, or (iii) received an Economic Impact Payment (stimulus check).

3. The individual is unable to pay full rent due to substantial loss of household income, or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses;

4. The individual is using best efforts to make timely partial payments that are as close to the full payment as the individual’s circumstances may permit, taking into account other nondiscretionary expenses; and

5. Eviction would likely render the individual homeless, or force the individual to move into and live in close quarters in a new congregate or shared living setting- because the individual has no other available options.

A footnote in the order says “A person is likely to qualify for protection under this order if they receive the following benefits: a. Temporary Assistance for needy Families (TANF); b. Supplemental nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); c. Supplemental Security Disability Income (SSDI) to the extent that income limits for these programs are less than or equal to the income limits for this order.”

The order is to be interpreted and implemented in a manner as to achieve the following objectives: Mitigating the spread of COVID-19 within crowded, congregate or shared living settings, or through unsheltered homelessness; Mitigating the further spread of COVID-19 from one state or territory into any other state or territory; Mitigating the further spread of COVID-19 by temporarily suspending the eviction of covered persons from residential property for nonpayment of rent; and Supporting response efforts to COVID-19 at the federal, state, local, territorial and tribal levels.

Penalties for violating the order are harsh. A person violating the order may be subject to a fine of no more than $100,000 or one year in jail, or both, if the violation does not result in a death, or $250,000 or one year in jail, or both if a death is involved. Landlord and tenant should do the right thing to avoid a much more drastic impact on their life than the non-payment of rent or an eviction.

Our advice: Tenants can find a CDC created standardized declaration form online at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/declaration-form.pdf. They are, however, not required to use the CDC form. Any written document that an eligible tenant presents to their landlord will comply with the order as long as it contains the required elements of “Covered Person.” All such declarations must contain a statement that the tenant understands that they can be liable for perjury for false or misleading statements or omissions. The landlord may challenge the truthfulness of a tenant’s statement.

Regardless of how this affects you, integrity is of utmost importance between you and your landlord. You are in this together so be sure to be honest with and take care of one another.

When it comes to choosing professionals to assist you with your Real Estate needs… Experience is Priceless!  Jim Valentine, RE/MAX Realty Affiliates, 775-781-3704.   dpwtigers@hotmail.com

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