HUD Webinar on Eviction Prevention and Stability Toolkit on June 10th at 2 pm ET

HUD will host a webinar on its Eviction Prevention and Stability Toolkit on June 10th at 2 pm ET. The webinar will focus on “how PHAs can use the components of the Eviction Prevention and Stability Toolkit to work with residents collaboratively.” Registration for the webinar is not required. The webinar can be joined by clicking the link below at the appropriate time.

Webex Link: https://ems8.intellor.com/login/839449 (no registration needed)

Dial-in: 888-251-2949 | Access Code: 2419011##

Federal Judge Vacates CDC Eviction Moratorium

A federal judge has set aside and vacated the eviction moratorium put in place by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). On May 5, Judge Dabney Friedrich of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia issued an opinion that was narrowly focused on one question, “Does the Public Health Service Act grant the CDC the legal authority to impose a nationwide eviction moratorium?” Judge Friedrich answered the question, “It does not” and further explains that the CDC and the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services exceeded the authority granted to them by the Public Health Service Act by issuing a nationwide eviction moratorium.

Judge Friedrich’s opinion can be found here. PHAs must continue to follow all local (state, county, city) eviction moratoriums and local landlord tenant laws. NAHRO will continue to follow this case and share additional information as it becomes available.

UPDATE (5/5/2021, 2:26pm ET) – The US Justice Department is appealing to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit the US District Court’s order vacating the CDC eviction moratorium.

UPDATE (5/5/2021, 3:31pm ET) – The US Justice Department has issued a statement respectfully disagreeing with the District Court’s decision and confirming that they have filed a notice of appeal of the decision. The statement is available here.

UPDATE (5/6/2021, 8:48am ET) – Judge Friedrich has issued an administrative stay putting her order vacating the CDC eviction moratorium on hold. The court will allow both parties to submit briefs against and in support of the stay and will then make a further decision on to keep the stay in place or not. As of this update, the CDC eviction moratorium remains in effect.

CDC Eviction Moratorium Ruled Unconstitutional, Still in Effect

Late on Feb. 25, 2021, Judge J. Campbell Barker of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas ruled, in a 21-page order, that the eviction moratorium issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is unconstitutional.  Meaning the Federal government does not have the constitutional authority to issue the CDC eviction moratorium. The US Justice Department, attorneys for the CDC, argued that the federal government did have the authority to enact an eviction moratorium through Article 1 of the US Constitution’s power to enact laws necessary and proper to regulate interstate commerce. The Court was not convinced by this argument and ruled against the federal government. The Court did acknowledge that landlord-tenant relationship can be regulated by state law. 

Even though the CDC Eviction Moratorium was ruled unconstitutional, Judge Barker did not issue an injunction stopping the effect of the eviction moratorium. Therefore, the CDC Eviction Moratorium is still in place and effective at the time of this writing. The Justice Department released a statement on Saturday, February 27, 2021 “respectfully” disagreeing with the Court’s decision and further stating that “the [Justice] Department has appealed that decision.”  

NAHRO will continue to monitor the court activity surrounding the CDC Eviction Moratorium and will provide additional updates as warranted. 

New, Updated Emergency Rental Assistance Guidance Issued

The U.S. Department of Treasury (Treasury) has released new and updated frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) that was created by the December 27, 2020 omnibus appropriations act. These new February 22, 2021 dated FAQs replace in their entirety the previously issued January 19, 2021 FAQs.

NAHRO commends Treasury for the new FAQs, as they provide much-needed clear and reasonable guidance on the ERAP. NAHRO has been in contact with Treasury on numerous occasions to ensure that PHAs and their residents are served by the ERAP. On January 25, 2021, NAHRO sent a letter to the Treasury and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development outlining our concerns with the January 19, 2021 FAQs, and the new FAQs address many of NAHRO’s concerns. These new FAQs are a major step forward for PHAs in meeting their COVID-19 housing needs of HUD-assisted residents.  

Below are a number of the key guidance points provided by the February 22, 2021 FAQs:

  • Federally assisted tenants (Public Housing, Housing Choice Voucher, & Project-Based Rental Assistance) are eligible for ERAP assistance for the tenant-owed portion of rent and utilities that are not subsidized. 
  • Tenants may document their financial hardship due to COVID-19 (unemployment benefits, reduction of income, significant costs, or other COVID-19 financial hardship) by written attestation signed by the tenant that one or more household members meet this eligibility criteria. 
  • Tenant household income is defined by using either HUD’s “annual income” definition in 24 CFR 5.609 or adjusted gross income reported on an Internal Revenue Service Form 1040 series. 
  • “Other expenses related to housing” examples are provided. The examples include but are not limited to: 
    • relocation expenses and rental fees (if a household has been temporarily or permanently displaced due to the COVID-19 outbreak);  
    • reasonable accrued late fees (if not included in rental or utility arrears and if incurred due to COVID-19); and  
    • Internet service provided to the rental unit. 
  • Outreach to landlords and utility providers must be done before providing the funds directly to the tenant. Outreach can be done using the following methods: 
    • a request for participation is sent in writing, by mail, to the landlord or utility provider, and the addressee does not respond to the request within 14 calendar days after mailing;  
    • the grantee has made at least three attempts by phone, text, or e-mail over a 10 calendar-day period to request the landlord or utility provider’s participation; or 
    • a landlord confirms in writing that the landlord does not wish to participate. 
  • PHAs, non-profit organizations, and local governments may operate ERAP programs through contractor, subrecipient, or intergovernmental cooperation agreements with the primary grantee at the state or local jurisdiction level. These agreements must meet monitoring and management requirements of 2 CFR 200.331-200.333 and procurement standards of 2 CFR 200.317-200.327. 

These are just a few of the answers in the new FAQs. The full FAQs are available on the NAHRO website’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program page. The Emergency Rental Assistance Program, including these FAQs, will be a focus of the 2021 NAHRO Online Washington Conference’s Treasury Affordable Housing Program and Washington Report sessions on March 2, 2021. Click here to register for the 2021 NAHRO Online Washington Conference

NAHRO & NLC Webinar on Eviction Prevention and Emergency Rental Assistance Program – Feb 18 @ 12:30pm ET

NAHRO and the National League of Cities are teaming up to bring their members critical information on eviction prevention strategies and the Treasury Department’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). The complimentary webinar will take place on Thursday, Feb. 18 at 12:30 pm ET. Registration information can be found here.

The webinar will also discuss the upcoming reconciliation process the new COVID-19 relief package will take through Congress, as well as an overview of eviction prevention strategies cities and community partners are implementing in the midst of COVID-19, and highlights of resources to prevent housing instability.

Information on ERAP is changing rapidly, and it is important for PHAs that want to partner with their State and/or local jurisdiction to be up to date. Join the NAHRO and NLC teams to hear the latest information on ERAP, including information on family eligibility and eligible use, along with an update on how the new administration plans on implementing the program. We will also be joined by a PHA that will share how their housing authority has partnered with the local jurisdiction to provide local emergency rental assistance.

The NARHO and NLC teams look forward to sharing this important information! Register Now for the important webinar.

HHS Extends CDC Eviction Moratorium to March 31

Earlier today, the Health and Human Services (HHS) Department made available a pre-publication copy of an order extending the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) eviction moratorium. The eviction moratorium has been extended to March 31, 2021. Additionally, the order now also applies to American Samoa–although it had not previously–because COVID-19 cases have now been reported there.

NAHRO members will receive additional information on this order.

A pre-publication copy of the order can be found here.

Today – NAHRO Webinar: The Impact of the CDC Eviction Moratorium on PHAs

NAHRO is hosting a webinar on the recently publish CDC order stopping most non-payment of rent evictions in the United States. The webinar is today, September 8, 2020 at 2pm eastern time. Click here to register. This webinar is complimentary for NAHRO members and $25 for non-member. More information on the benefits of NAHRO membership is available here.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have issued an order stopping most residential evictions for non-payment of rent through the end of 2020. What does this mean for Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) and their residents? Join the NAHRO team and Housing Development Law Institute (HDLI) staff as they provide a breakdown of the CDC order and discuss how it may affect the day-to-day operations of PHAs’ housing programs.

This webinar is the first of our complimentary member benefit series – monthly online sessions that will tackle hot topics, provide opportunities to hear from your peers in the field, and feature networking events to keep you connected. Keep an eye on our training calendar – more information will be coming soon!

Click here to register for today’s webinar!

CDC Publishes Order Halting Residential Evictions

On late Tuesday afternoon, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced an order to stop residential evictions to halt the spread of COVID-19. The order is currently scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on September 4. It becomes effective on publication and will last until December 31, 2020, unless extended.

The order notes that as of late August, there have been over 23 million cases of COVID-19 globally, resulting in over 800,000 deaths. It also states that, domestically, there have been over 5.5 million cases, which have resulted in over 174,000 deaths. Given the “historic threat to public health,” the order notes that “[e]viction moratoria facilitate self-isolation by people who become ill or who are at risk for severe illness from COVID-19 due to an underlying medical condition.” The order also notes that eviction moratoria help implement stay-at-home and social distancing orders, while also preventing homelessness which “increases the likelihood of individuals moving into close quarters in congregate settings, such as homeless shelters, which then puts individuals at higher risk of COVID-19.”

The order institutes a temporary eviction moratorium. It states that a “landlord . . . shall not evict any covered person from any residential property in any State or U.S. territory” in which there are COVID-19 cases. The term “covered person” includes any tenant who states—under the penalty of perjury—to their landlord, owner, or other person with the power to evict that the following conditions have been met:

  • The person has used their best efforts to obtain available government assistance for rent or housing;
  • The person meets any of the following three criteria:
    • The person does not expect to earn more than $99,000 in annual income in calendar year (CY) 2020 (or more than $198,000 for joint tax returns);
    • The person was not required to report any income in 2019 to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS); or
    • The person received a “stimulus check” under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act;
  • The person is unable to pay the full rent or make a full housing payment due to loss of compensable hours of work, a lay-off, or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses;
  • The person is making “best efforts” to make timely partial payments that are as close to the full payment as possible; and
  • Eviction would render the individual homeless or force the individual to live in close quarters in a new congregate or shared living setting.

Despite the order, individuals are still obligated to pay rent or make applicable payments. The order does not prevent charging or collecting fees, penalties, and interest for late payments. Tenants may still be evicted for the following:

  • Engaging in criminal activity on the premises;
  • Threatening the health or safety of other residents;
  • Damaging or posing an immediate and significant risk of damage to property;
  • Violating any applicable building code, health ordinance, or similar regulation relating to health and safety; or
  • Violating any other contractual obligation (other than late fees, penalties, or interest).

This order does not apply in certain areas. It does not apply in any “State, local, territorial, or tribal area with a moratorium on residential evictions that provides the same or greater level of public-health protection.” Additionally, the order does not apply in American Samoa—which has no reported cases—unless cases develop.

The order is not a rule as defined in the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), but is an “emergency action.” If it did qualify as a rule, the order notes that there is still “good cause” to dispense with the regular notice-and-comment process because of the public-health emergency.

There are certain criminal penalties for violating this order. A person violating the order may be subject to a fine of $100,000, one year of jail, both a fine and jail, or another lawful penalty, if the violation does not result in a death. If the violation results in a death, the person violating the order may be subject to a fine of $250,000, one year of jail, both a fine and jail, or other lawful penalty. An organization violating this order may be subject to $200,000 per event, if the violation does not lead to a death and $500,000 per event if the violation results in death. The Department of Health and Human Services is authorized to cooperate with and aid state and local authorities to authorize this order.

The order includes a declaration for tenants. A tenant must provide a copy of the declaration to their landlord, owner, or other individual who has the right to evict. Each adult listed on the lease must complete the declaration. The declaration must be true under a penalty of perjury.

A pre-publication copy of the order can be found here.

NAHRO continues to encourage Public Housing Authorities (PHAs), Section 8 landlords, and tenants to work together to minimize the financial impact of COVID-19. Tenants should contact their PHA notifying them of any reduction of income due to the pandemic. Landlords and PHAs should reach out and coordinate with tenants concerning unpaid rent. Best practices in preventing evictions include repayment agreements, retroactive recertifications and proactive communication with tenants.

Below are links to HUD and NAHRO eviction prevention resources:

Our advocacy must continue to ensure adequate resources that support your programs and provides rent relief for unassisted families. Use the NAHRO Advocacy Action Alert Center to send letters to your members of Congress and the Administration and let them know the critical role quality house and rental assistance plays as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.