Please find below the two summarized actions that the state and federal government have taken to halt evictions and provide mortgage protection for individuals who have lost work or have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and don’t have other housing options. This information was sent to our organization and we are just sharing this with our clients. The Community Pantry is not responsible for the accuracy of this information or for any outcomes you may experience.
Center for Disease Control: Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions to Prevent the Further Spread of COVID-19
The CDC’s order is for tenants, lessees, or residents of residential properties who are covered by the CDC’s order temporarily halting residential evictions (not including foreclosures on home mortgages) to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. Under the CDC’s order you must provide a copy of the attached declaration to your landlord, owner of the residential property where you live, or other person who has a right to have you evicted or removed from where you live. Each adult listed on the lease, rental agreement, or housing contract should complete this declaration. Unless the CDC order is extended, changed, or ended, the order prevents an individual from being evicted or removed from where they are living through December 31, 2020. Individuals are still required to pay rent and follow all the other terms of the lease and rules of the place where you live. Individuals may also still be evicted for reasons other than not paying rent or making a housing payment.
To qualify for the eviction protection order through December 31, 2020, a tenant must sign the attached certification confirming the following requirements:
- They have used best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing;
- They expect to earn no more than $99,000 in annual income for Calendar Year 2020 (or no more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return), was not required to report any income in 2019 to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, or received an Economic Impact Payment (stimulus check) pursuant to Section 2201 of the CARES Act;
- They are unable to pay their full rent or make a full housing payment due to substantial loss of household income, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, lay-offs, or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses;
- They are 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;
- If evicted they would likely become homeless, need to move into a homeless shelter, or need to move into a new residence shared by other people who live in close quarters because they have no other available housing options;
- They understand that they must still pay rent or make a housing payment, and comply with other obligations that they may have under my tenancy, lease agreement, or similar contract. They further understand that fees, penalties, or interest for not paying rent or making a housing payment on time as required by my tenancy, lease agreement, or similar contract may still be charged or collected; and
- They further understand that at the end of this temporary halt on evictions on December 31, 2020, my housing provider may require payment in full for all payments not made prior to and during the temporary halt and failure to pay may make me subject to eviction pursuant to state and local laws.
The declaration form must be submitted to the tenant’s landlord, owner of the residential property where they live, or other person who has a right to have them evicted or removed from where they live. Each adult listed on the lease, rental agreement, or housing contract needs to complete and provide a declaration. Tenants can still be evicted for reasons other than not paying rent or making a housing payment. This order does not preclude the charging or collecting of fees, penalties, or interest as a result of the failure to pay rent or other housing payments on a timely basis, under the terms of any applicable contract.
California Tenant, Homeowner, and Small Landlord Relief and Stabilization Act of 2020
- No COVID-19-Related Evictions Until February 1, 2021
- Tenant cannot be evicted for a COVID-19 related hardship that accrued between March 4 – August 31, 2020 if tenant returns declaration of hardship under penalty of perjury.
- Tenant cannot be evicted for a COVID-19 related hardship that accrues between September 1, 2020 – January 31, 2021 if tenant returns declaration of hardship under penalty of perjury and pays at least 25% of the rent due.
- Higher income tenants (over $100K household income or over 130% of median household income, whichever is higher) must provide documentation to support their declaration upon a landlord’s request.
- Applies to all residential tenants (including mobile home tenants), regardless of immigration status.
- Tenants Still Responsible for Paying Unpaid Amounts to Landlords
- So long as the tenant with COVID-19 related hardship follows the bill’s procedures, any unpaid rent due between March 4, 2020 – January 31, 2021 is not a ground/basis for eviction, but is still owed to the landlord as a form of consumer debt.
- Small claims court jurisdiction is temporarily expanded to allow landlords to recover these amounts.
- Landlords may begin to recover this debt on March 1, 2021. This expanded small claims court provision sunsets on February 1, 2025.
- Additional Legal and Financial Protections for Tenants
- Extends notice period for nonpayment of rent from 3 to 15 days to provide tenant additional time to respond to landlord’s notice to pay rent or quit.
- Requires landlords to provide hardship declaration forms in a different language if rental agreement was negotiated in a different language.
- Provides tenants a backstop if they have a good reason for failing to return the hardship declaration within 15 days.
- Requires landlords to provide tenants a notice detailing their rights under the Act.
- Limits public disclosure (“masking”) of eviction cases involving nonpayment of rent between March 4, 2020 – January 31, 2021.
- Protects tenants against being evicted for “just cause” if the landlord is shown to be evicting the tenant for COVID-19-related nonpayment of rent.
- Statewide Consistency and a Pause on Local Measures
- Existing local ordinances can remain in place until they expire and future local action cannot undermine this Act’s framework.
- Requires ordinances that provide a repayment schedule to begin repayment no later than March 1, 2021.
- Clarifies that nothing in the Act affects a local jurisdiction’s ability to adopt an ordinance that requires just cause, consistent with state law, provided it does not affect rental payments before January 31, 2021.
- Protections for Small Landlords
- Extends the Homeowners’ Bill of Rights’ anti-foreclosure protections to small landlords, 1-4 units, non-owner occupied.
- Provides new accountability and transparency provisions to protect small landlord borrowers who request CARES-compliant forbearance, and provides the borrower who is harmed by a material violation with a cause of action.
- Significantly Increases Penalties on Landlords Who Do Not Follow Court Evictions Process
- Increases penalties on landlords who resort to self-help (i.e., locking the tenant out, throwing property out onto the curb, shutting off utilities) to evict a tenant, rather than going through the required court process.
HOMEOWNERS AND LANDLORD PROTECTION
- Protection for Homeowners
- Applies to homeowners and landlords with four (4) or fewer properties, whether those properties are owner-occupied or not, and who have had difficulty making mortgage payments because of COVID-19.
- Federally backed mortgage (FHA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Veterans Administration (VA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
- Homeowners/Landlords can request forbearance pursuant to the federal CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) to help them avoid a foreclosure timeline. They can contact their mortgage servicer – the company they send their mortgage payment to – to find out if their loan is federally backed.
- Non-Federal backed mortgage
- Homeowners/Landlords can contact your servicer requesting forbearance. If no forbearance is offered, their lender must provide them with a detailed description explaining why forbearance request was denied, stating the exact reasons for the denial.
- If their lender’s explanation identifies missing information or errors in their request, they then have 21 days to update and correct these issues. Additional homeowner protections and lender requirements before a bank can file a notice of default on their mortgage include:
- A requirement for lenders to file the forbearance denial notice along with the declaration when recording a notice of default.
- The ability for them to contest either the 30-day contact or the forbearance denial notice. (The 30-day contact refers to the minimum 30 days a lender must wait after contacting a borrower to seek payment before filing a Notice of Default.)
- The right for a homeowner/landlord to file a cause of action (lawsuit) if their lender harms them by violating the law.