The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) has issued an order which temporarily halts residential evictions to prevent further spread of COVID-19. The order is effective September 4, 2020 through December 31, 2020.

The CDC’s order applies only after the tenant provides their landlord with an executed declaration under penalty of perjury indicating that:

1) The individual has used best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing;

2) 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;

3) 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;

4) 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 nondiscretionary expenses; and

5) 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.

The CDC’s order overrides less restrictive eviction protections. For example, Washington State’s moratorium on evictions (Proclamation 20-19.3) permits landlords to pursue evictions if the landlord shows that at least 60 days’ written notice of intent to personally occupy the premises as their primary residence or to sell the property was provided. The CDC order does not allow landlords to evict tenants for either of these reasons, and therefore likely supersedes Washington State’s order if the tenant properly invokes protection under the CDC order.

However, Washington State’s order will supersede the CDC order relating to communications between landlords and tenants because Washington’s order does not allow landlords to assess or threaten to assess late fees, rent, or other charges related to the lease. The CDC’s order is silent on these communications and therefore, these provisions of Washington’s order would still apply in Washington State.

A person who violates the CDC order may be subject to a fine between $100,000 – $250,000 or one year in jail depending on the circumstances. The CDC’s order can be found here.

If you have questions about the CDC’s order or need assistance determining whether your tenant qualifies for protection under the CDC order, please contact Seth A. Woolson or Tim D. Schermetzler at Chmelik Sitkin & Davis P.S.