Effective April 1, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has extended the moratorium on tenant evictions nationwide through June 30, 2021, in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. The order was issued on March 28, 2021.

Key Takeaways

  • Renters who fit the income standard cannot be evicted if they sign declarations that they have exhausted their best efforts to pay rent and are likely to become homeless due to eviction
  • Renters will still owe back rent after the moratorium, which ends on June 30, 2021, expires.
  • The Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA) 2020 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 have each allocated funds for rental and housing assistance to be managed by states and local governments.
  • Eligible households may receive up to 15 months of emergency rental assistance.

How to Qualify for Eviction Protection

Of the 44 million residential renters in the country, those making $99,000 per year or less ($198,000 for couples) cannot be evicted if they sign a declaration that they:

  1. have exhausted their best efforts to obtain government assistance to pay rent or for housing.
  2. either earned no more than $99,000 ($198,000 if filing jointly) in 2020 or expect to earn no more than those limits in 2021; were not required to report any income to the IRS in 2020; or received an Economic Stimulus Payment (stimulus check).
  3. are unable to pay full rent or a full housing payment due to substantial loss of household income, work hours, being laid off, or substantial medical expenses.
  4. are attempting to make partial payments as close to full rent as conditions permit.
  5. are likely to become homeless due to eviction.

They are still obligated to pay accrued rent or housing payments in accordance with their lease or contract, and landlords can still evict them for other reasons.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has provided a fillable online Eviction Protection Declaration form tenants can complete, print out, and present to their landlord. CDC advises tenents should make a photocopy of the declaration for their own records.

Chart with estimated number of renters at risk of eviction

Besides increasing the spread of the virus, evictions have devastating physical, financial and mental health consequences for families, and an estimated 30–40 million people in America were at risk last year in the absence of robust and swift intervention, according to an early August report from The Aspen Institute. Most states in the country do not have a state-level moratorium on evictions. 

Rent and Housing Assistance to Help Mitigate Evictions

The eviction moratorium is, at best, a stop-gap measure that requires landlords to bear much of the financial burden of this crisis. Recent legislation designed to address the eviction issue more fully includes $25 billion in emergency rental assistance from the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA) 2021 and an additional $21.5 billion in emergency rent assistance from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, signed into law by President Biden on March 11, 2021.

These funds, along with other American Rescue Plan monies including a $10 billion homeowner assistance fund, emergency housing vouchers, homelessness assistance, and more are designed to be funneled to states and localities and from there dispersed to tenants who may qualify for up to 15 months of financial assistance.