On September 2, 2020, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Robert Redfield, signed the CDC eviction moratorium that temporarily halts residential evictions. This order went into effect on September 4 and will last through the end of the year. Plus, it’s at least possible that this order will be extended.
Specifics of the CDC eviction moratorium can be found on the Federal Register, which is “The Daily Journal of the United States Government.” This temporary halt on evictions was granted because of the public health threat that COVID-19 poses in the United States. Effective public health measures, the CDC notes, include “quarantine, isolation, and social distancing”—and “In the context of a pandemic, eviction moratoria.”
Why? Because when people are able to remain in their homes or apartments, this automatically makes it easier for them to self isolate. That’s true if they have the disease, are worried they might, or have been in contact with people who are COVID-19-positive. This order makes it easier for state and local governments to implement stay at home orders, as needed, and otherwise help to slow down community spread of this easily transmitted disease.
If, on the other hand, people were evicted and needed to go to homeless shelters or another crowded setting, this makes it much easier for COVID-19 to spread.
Language for Landlords
What, specifically, does the CDC order say about evictions?
Part of the text reads as follows: “a landlord, owner of a residential property, or other person with a legal right to pursue eviction or possessory action, shall not evict any covered person from any residential property in any jurisdiction to which this Order applies during the effective period of the Order.”
Are you looking for an Ocala property management company to help maximize the value of your property?
Contact us today: 352-414-5292
In addition, state and local governments can create stricter requirements for added public health protection. They can make the regulations more stringent, but they can’t make them less than the federal order.
So, does this mean that tenants are no longer required to pay rent or other forms of housing payments? No, it doesn’t. Tenants are still required to pay rent; they just can’t be evicted for non-payment during the rest of 2020 if COVID-19 is playing a role, perhaps through job loss. Note that this does not prevent an eviction for a qualifying reason other than non-payment.
Here’s additional language of importance for landlords: “Nothing in this Order precludes the charging or collecting of fees, penalties, or interest as a result of the failure to pay rent or other housing payment on a timely basis, under the terms of any applicable contract.”
Renters do need to present landlords with a declaration stating that they cannot currently make their payments because of COVID-19-related reasons, with each person on the lease required to fill one out.
According to Bloomberg.com in an August 2020 article, despite the “bracing for an earth-shattering kaboom of evictions” after talks of another relief package stalled in Congress, this “tsunami” has not really occurred. In fact, in many places across the county, eviction notices are low—even when formal protections hadn’t been put into place.
This order is not in response, then, to higher numbers of evictions. Instead, as stated by the CDC, it’s a public health action.
Lack of Landlord Protection
From a public health standpoint—and from a renters’ one—it can be good to have these protections. A big flaw for landlords, though, is the lost income. The order does not provide any relief for landlords, other than it will allow them to collect both current and back rent once the order expires, along with applicable fees, penalties, and interest—assuming, of course, that the renters will have enough cash flow to catch all of that up.
Florida’s Coronavirus Relief Fund
Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis, has authorized $250 million to go to the Florida Housing Finance Corporation to help provide rental assistance for tenants and landlords alike. The properties, though, would need to be in a development funded by Florida Housing to quality for this assistance. As a real estate investor, if this applies to one or more of your properties, you can find more information here.
How Resolute Property Management Can Help
Top-quality Ocala property management companies do more than simply collect rent for you. They also keep track of regulations by proactively offering legal guidance. At Resolute, we take pride in providing these services and much more for our clients. We’ll keep track of the ever-evolving COVID-19 situation for you and how it affects what landlords can and can’t do.
We can help you determine the optimal monthly rent payments for your properties, letting you know where you can charge more. Plus, we can use our experience to streamline property management for you, efficiently filling your vacancies for improved cash flow.
Here is what just one satisfied client had to say about our property management services in Ocala:
“Resolute is fantastic to work with. They found great tenants for us in a matter of weeks and have done a great job of maintaining and managing our property . . . From the top down, their team is fabulous and easy to work with. I highly recommend Resolute Property Management.”
Photo Credit: James Gathany, CDC.