Posted October 8, 20209:52 am
On September 2nd, The Center for Disease Control (CDC) issued an order temporarily banning some evictions to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
This law is not applied automatically, and is not a rent forgiveness program – tenants will still have to pay rent once the Order expires on December 31, 2020. The law also only covers tenants who fit a certain set of requirements. Tenants must continue to comply with the terms of their lease as well as federal, state, and local laws.
Tenants who want the protection of this law must demonstrate that they qualify and ask for the protection. A tenant can do this by completing a Declaration Form and presenting this form to his or her landlord. Every adult listed on the lease must complete a Declaration Form and give a copy of the form to the landlord. Tenants should keep a photocopy of the completed Declaration Form for their own records.
To qualify for protection, a tenant must be able to say that all five of the following statements are true:
- The tenant has made a sincere effort to get all available government assistance for rent or housing.
- The tenant either:
- Received a CARES Act stimulus check;
- Was not required to report any income in 2019 to the IRS; or
- Expects to earn no more than $99,000 in the calendar year 2020 (or no more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return).
- The tenant cannot pay the full rent because of a significant loss of household income (fewer work hours, lower wages, a lay-off) or extraordinary out-of-pocket expenses.
- The tenant is using his or her best efforts to make timely partial payments in the largest amount possible as their circumstances permit.
- An eviction would likely make the tenant homeless or force a move into close quarters with other people (e.g. doubling up with friends or family, or living in a shelter).
Tenants may need to prove that they gave a copy of the Declaration Form to their landlord. Legal Aid suggests tenants ask their landlord to initial the tenant copy of the form, or give the form to their landlord with a witness present.
Tenants with housing questions can always call Legal Aid’s Tenant Information Line, which is available 24/7. Cuyahoga County residents can call 216-861-5955. Ashtabula, Lake, Geauga, and Lorain County residents can call 440-210-4533. Callers should leave a detailed voicemail and a Legal Aid staff member will return the call in 1-2 days, between 9 A.M. and 5 P.M.
If you are facing eviction and need legal help, please call Legal Aid’s toll-free intake line at 888-817-3777. Legal Aid’s intake line is available in several other languages, including Spanish, Arabic, Mandarin and French. Visit lasclev.org/contact for those contact numbers or to apply for help online. The sooner you are in touch with Legal Aid, the more work an attorney may be able to do to protect your home.