Weeks after some Texas families have already been uprooted from their homes because they couldn’t afford rent, the federal government announced Tuesday a four-month nationwide eviction moratorium.
The order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services cited concerns of the spread of COVID-19. If people wind up homeless, they may have to move in with others or go to a shelter, both of which would put people in closer quarters and at greater risk.
Hasn’t there already been a moratorium through the pandemic?
Yes, but it hasn’t covered everyone. This order will. The federal coronavirus aid act has backed and protected certain landlords and apartments but not all. Even with Houston and other cities providing rental assistance during the pandemic, many people are still struggling to keep a roof over their heads.
The new order doesn’t relieve renters from their obligations of payment for rent and other lease terms. In addition to preventing evictions, the order permits landlords to provide payment plans and relief for those out of work during the pandemic.
Who does the eviction moratorium cover?
Tenants must make no more than $99,000 in 2020, be unable to pay the full rent or make a full housing payment due to substantial loss of household income and loss of compensable hours of work. The order also states that the tenant must explain how the eviction would cause them and anyone else on the lease to become homeless or living in close proximity to others.
Forms will be available on the Federal Register website after the order is published Friday.
The order explains an “eviction moratoria — like quarantine, isolation, and social distancing — can be an effective public health measure utilized to prevent the spread of communicable disease.”
The order also refers to the growing number of coronavirus cases.
“As of August 24, 2020, there were over 23,000,000 cases of COVID-19 globally resulting in over 800,000 deaths; over 5,500,000 cases have been identified in the United States, with new cases being reported daily and over 174,000 deaths due to the disease.”