National Eviction Moratorium Overview
On September 1, 2020 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a temporary national moratorium on most evictions for nonpayment of rent to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. The CDC declared that an eviction moratorium would help ensure people are able to practice social distancing and comply with stay-at-home orders. The moratorium was initially set to expire on December 31, 2020. On December 21, 2020 Congress passed an emergency COVID-19 relief bill that extends the federal eviction moratorium through January 31, 2021, keeping struggling renters housed and preventing further spread of and deaths from COVID-19.
To qualify, renters must meet a set of criteria (detailed below) and submit a signed declaration to their landlord. When the Order expires on January 31, 2021, consistent with the applicable landlord-tenant or real-property laws, a covered person will owe their landlord any unpaid rent and any fees, penalties, or interest as a result of their failure to pay rent or make a timely housing payment during the period of the Order.
To be covered under the moratorium, renters must meet the following qualifications:
- You have used your “best efforts” to obtain government rental assistance;
- You do not expect to earn more than $99,000 in 2020 (or $198,000 if you are married and filed a joint tax return), or you did not need to report income to the federal government in 2019, or you received an Economic Impact Payment (stimulus check) this year;
- You have been experiencing a “substantial” loss of household income because of a layoff or reduced work hours, or you have “extraordinary” out-of-pocket medical expenses (defined as an unreimbursed medical expense that exceeds 7.5% of your adjusted gross income for the year);
- You have been making your best effort to make partial rent payments as close to the full amount due as possible; and
- Being evicted would cause you to become homeless or you would have to move in with a friend or family member (live “doubled up”).
The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) and National Housing Law Project (NHLP) also recommend tenants send their landlords the declaration via certified mail, which will provide you with an official receipt to prove the declaration was mailed and require a signature from the recipient to prove the declaration was delivered. Sending the declaration by email also provides evidence that you submitted the declaration. You should also make a copy of the declaration to keep for your records.
It is illegal for a landlord to evict a tenant without a court order by doing any of the following:
- Changing locks;
- Disconnecting electricity, water or gas;
- Using force; and
- Threatening to do these things.
Avoid Eviction with a Rent Accommodation Letter
If you have unpaid rent, past due rent, or late rent, Disability Rights Texas’s accommodation request letter can help you avoiding eviction after losing a job because of COVID-19.
- Is there a COVID related reason you or someone in your house cannot work and are now facing eviction or a housing crisis?
- Have you lost income and have unpaid rent, past due rent, or late rent because of COVID-19?
- Is losing income and facing eviction making you or a family member’s mental health worse?
You can use Disability Rights Texas’s interactive Unpaid Rent Accommodation Request Generator to ask for more time to pay rent, delay an eviction, or even forgive past rent if you or someone in the house has lost a job because of COVID-19, lost income because of COVID-19 or if losing a job or income is making someone in the household’s mental health worse. This tool lets people use the protections of federal civil rights laws to ask for more time.
To request this information in ASL, Braille, or as an audio file, contact Disability Rights Texas.