In early September of 2020, after the Coronavirus pandemic entered its seventh month of devastating the US economy, job market, and social structures, the CDC announced the release of an order dubbed the ‘CDC Eviction Moratorium’.
Because of spikes in new Coronavirus cases throughout the country along with worsening unemployment numbers due to the pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) took action to stop the further spread of COVID-19 by putting a halt on residential evictions due to nonpayment of rent.
This order went into effect on September 4th and will remain in effect until December 31st, 2020.
What The Order Means for Coloradans
The legal team at Matthew R. Osborne, PC is keenly aware of the challenges that many renters are facing as we all continue to weather the Coronavirus pandemic.
We have all been impacted by COVID-19 in one way or another, and as a result, many consumers in Colorado are facing especially trying financial times, with some of them considering the prospect of eviction or even homelessness.
At Matthew R. Osborne, PC, our goal is to empower consumers with the information and tools they need to effectively defend their rights—rights which, perhaps now more than ever, are crucial to our freedom as Americans.
So, what exactly is covered by the CDC’s Eviction Moratorium, and perhaps more importantly, who is covered by it?
Suspension of Right to Eviction
In effect, from September 4th, 2020 to December 31st, 2020, the CDC is suspending a landlord’s right to evict a tenant due to nonpayment of rent (nonpayment being a direct result of financial loss related to the COVID-19 pandemic).
Unless the order is extended into 2021 (which many suspect will happen), this suspension will only be in effect until the end of this year.
But, this is only half of the full story.
For the order to be enforceable by the courts, the tenant must meet the following criteria:
- The tenant has used best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing;
- The individual either (i) expects 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), (ii) was not required to report any income in 2019 to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, or (iii) received an Economic Impact Payment (stimulus check) pursuant to Section 2201 of the CARES Act;
- The individual is unable to pay the full rent or make a full housing payment due to substantial loss of household income, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, a lay-off, or extraordinary  out-of-pocket medical expenses;
- The individual is 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 non discretionary expenses; and
- Eviction would likely render the individual homeless—or force the individual to move into and live in close quarters in a new congregate or shared living setting—because the individual has no other available housing options.
Eviction Moratorium Applicability
So far, we’ve only been discussing the federally enforceable eviction moratorium issued by the CDC. We haven’t been talking about the state-level legislation that is also now in place.
The CDC Eviction Moratorium only applies in states where there is no other moratorium on residential evictions that provides the same or greater level of public-health protection than the requirements listed in the Order.
Does Colorado have such a state-level moratorium? Yes. Yes, we do.
In mid-October, Colorado Governor Jared Polis reinstated a state-wide eviction moratorium policy after allowing it to lapse during the pandemic. This moratorium is very specific, and it guarantees that a person can not get evicted as long as they can prove they are suffering from hardships related to COVID.
The requirements for protection by this moratorium include:
- The truthful completion and prompt submission of a form (under penalty of perjury)
- Income requirement of $99,000 or less/year ($198,000 for couples)
- Threat of homelessness must be credible.
This moratorium will help renters buy time to make progress in managing their finances during the pandemic, and it operates in lieu of the CDC Eviction Moratorium, because the state-level order provides ‘the same or greater level of public health protection’.
This state-level moratorium is effective for 30 days beginning October 21st, and Gov. Polis has stated that he is committed to extending it through the end of the year.