WASHINGTON, D.C.–Last month, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a temporary order to stop evictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the order provides relief to a large group of Americans, there are some important things to remember.
First, the order only protects renters who meet certain requirements and who sign a form and give it to their landlord. Second, landlords can still charge late fees during the temporary relief period. Third, if you break certain terms of your lease, you may still be evicted. Fourth, the CDC order doesn’t apply to homeowners facing foreclosure, so contact your lender or servicer for options. And finally, the CDC protections don’t apply if you live in an area that already has the same or better eviction protections, so you should check on your local housing policies.
Remember: the relief is temporary. Right now, evictions are put on pause, but only until December 31. If you’re like millions of other Americans who may not be able to afford to pay your rent in January, here are some things you should know about the eviction process:
- Your landlord can take you to court if you don’t pay. Even if you don’t have the money to pay the past-due rent, your landlord can ask a judge to force you to pay or have the right to evict you.
- If you’re facing eviction, you still have rights. The first step in most evictions is a written notice. Check with your local court system for more details about the eviction process. You also may qualify for free legal services and be able to speak to a lawyer to learn about your rights.
And here are some tips for what you can do next if you missed rent payments because of the pandemic:
- Find out more about rental assistance programs. There may be local programs that offer rental assistance and other help.
- Watch for people who say they can help you pay your rent. If you spot a scam please tell the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.