The Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) has issued an order that is expected to halt residential evictions through the end of this year. The basis for the Order is that the CDC believes halting evictions during a pandemic will assist in stopping the spread of COVID, since a moratorium on evictions could facilitate self-isolation, allow authorities to more easily implement stay at home orders, and provide housing stability to those who might otherwise move into places such as shelters or multi-family homes where social distancing could be more difficult. Those persons covered under this Order must provide their landlord, residential property owner, or those with a legal right to pursue eviction, a declaration stating the following:

  1. The individual has used his or her best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing;
  2. That the individual expects to earn under $99,000 in 2020 or $198,000 for a joint tax return, was not required to report any income to the IRS in 2019, or received a stimulus check under the CARES Act;
  3. The individual is unable to pay the full rent or full housing payment due to loss of household income, loss of work hours, loss of wages, lay-off, or due to unreimbursed medical expenses likely to exceed 7.5% of the individual’s adjusted gross income for the year;
  4. The individual is using his or her best effort to make timely partial payments; and
  5. That eviction would likely render the individual homeless or force him or her to move into and live in close quarters or shared living setting because the individual has no other available housing options.

Those deemed to have violated the CDC order are subject to fines of up to to $100,000, one year in jail, or both. If the violation results in a death, fines up to $250,000, one year in jail, or both may be imposed. An organization violating this order could receive a fine of up to $200,000 per event or $500,000 per event if the violation results in death.

To date, the Order does not apply to foreclosures by a home mortgage. It also specifically defines “Residential Property” as “any property leased for residential purposes.”

Of importance is that the Order also does not relieve the obligation to: pay rent, make a housing payment, or comply with other obligations one may have under a lease. The Order does not preclude charging fees, penalties or interest resulting from failure to pay rent on time.

The Order is effective upon publication date of September 4, 2020. Because this Order is unprecedented, the legality of it is being questioned. Stay tuned to see how Colorado will respond.

You may find the Order here.

As always, contact any of the Altitude Community Law attorneys for questions on the above or for any of your HOA legal needs at 303-432-9999 or [email protected].

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