What does the CDC's COVID-19 Eviction Moratorium do?
Authored By: Alaska Legal Services Corporation
Frequently asked questions from renters about the CDC Eviction Moratorium
- What is the CDC COVID-19 eviction moratorium?
- How do I know if I am covered by the CDC's eviction moratorium?
- Do I need to provide proof that I meet the qualifications for protection under the CDC's eviction moratorium?
- Do I need to show proof that my "substantial" financial hardship is related to COVID-19?
- Is giving the signed declaration to my landlord like making a statement in court?
- If I have roomates, do we each need to fill out a declaration for the landlord?
- What if my landlord ignores the declaration and moves forward with eviction?
- Should I still pay my rent?
- Does the moratorium include any money to help me pay rent?
- Can I be evicted when the moratorium expires?
- Does the CDC's eviction moratorium protect me from eviction for reasons other than not paying rent?
Through June 30, 2021, there is a federal “eviction moratorium” in effect through the CDC. Under this eviction moratorium, tenants can NOT be evicted due to non-payment of rent if those tenants have been impacted by COVID-19.
For the CDC eviction moratorium to apply, these conditions must be met:
- Tenants have used best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing;
- Tenants meet one of the following income qualifications:
- They expect to earn no more than $99,000 in 2021, or no more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return; or
- They were not required to report any income to the IRS in 2020; or
- They received a stimulus check under the CARES Act.
- Tenants are unable to pay their full rent due to a “substantial loss of household income, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, a lay-off, or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses”;
- Tenants used best efforts to make partial payments on time that are as close to the full payment as their circumstances may permit, taking into account other non-discretionary expenses; and
- An eviction would likely render them homeless or force them to move into and live in close quarters in a congregate or shared living setting.
Sending the declaration to the landlord by certified mail or email is best because you have proof that the declaration was delivered. You should also make a copy of the declaration to keep for your records.
Do I need to provide proof that I meet the qualifications for protection under the CDC's eviction moratorium?
The CDC’s order does not require you to provide any proof with the declaration. However, you may want to have documents on hand in case your landlord attempts to challenge the declaration.
Do I need to show proof that my "substantial" financial hardship is related to COVID-19?
No. The CDC’s order does not require that a renter’s financial hardship be COVID-related.
Yes. The CDC's order says that the information you provide on the declaration is a "sworn statement." A person who signs a declaration and knows that it says things which are not true may be committing a crime.
If I have roomates, do we each need to fill out a declaration for the landlord?
Yes. The CDC’s order specifies that every adult on the lease should sign and send their own declaration.
What if my landlord ignores the declaration and moves forward with eviction?
First, call Alaska Legal Services Corporation (1-888-478-2572) to apply for legal help.
There is also a FREE Landlord-Tenant Hotline from 6-8 p.m. Monday through Thursday each week. This is a service staffed by volunteer attorneys. The number is 907-743-1000, or toll-free at 855-743-1001.
Next, you should take these steps:
- Make sure your landlord has a copy of your signed CDC declaration; and
- File an FED Answer with the court system. In your answer, make sure to mention that you are being evicted for non-payment of rent, and that you have provided a copy of the CDC declaration to your landlord.
- If a court date / time is set for a hearing, you should make sure you attend the hearing, and explain your case at that time to the judge. If you do not attend this hearing or do not respond to the complaint, a judge may enter a default judgment against you.
You should know that while evictions for non-payment of rent are temporarily halted due to the CDC eviction moratorium, you can still be evicted for other reasons. If you are being evicted for a reason OTHER than non-payment of rent, you’ll still want to use the FED Answer and respond in court. You can also reach out to Alaska Legal Services Corporation for help.
Right now, landlords should not be moving forward with evictions for non-payment of rent due to COVID. If your landlord moves forward with an eviction for non-payment of rent before June 30, 2021, and you have already provided your landlord with a signed CDC declaration, that landlord is acting in violation of the CDC order.
There are penalties for violating this CDC order; landlords who violate the CDC’s order may be fined up to $100,000, face up to a year in jail, or both if the evicted person contracts coronavirus as a result of the eviction. If an evicted tenant dies of coronavirus, the landlord could be fined up to $250,000, face up to a year in jail, or both.
Should I still pay my rent?
Yes. If you are able, you should still pay as much of your rent as possible in order to continue meeting the qualifications for the moratorium. The declaration requires you to agree that you will make partial payments to your landlord to the extent your circumstances allow it. You should know that the eviction moratorium does not forgive your rent that is past-due; all back rent will have to be paid once the moratorium expires on June 30, 2021.
However, there may be other programs available to you to help you pay your rent.
For example, the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation has offered COVID rental relief.
You may also be eligible for rental assistance through your municipality or tribal government. You should reach out to your local government to see if any rental or housing assistance funds are available.
Can I be evicted when the moratorium expires?
Yes. The moratorium is currently set to expire on June 30, 2021.
No. The CDC's order only protects tenants who cannot pay their rent, it does not protect renters who have broken their lease agreement in other ways (for example by damaging the property, by having guests stay too long, or by being too noisy).