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Centers for Disease Control Order Bans Evictions

Federal Eviction Moratorium Effective Through Dec. 31, 2020

Friday, September 4, 2020/Categories: Community Development Division, Montana Housing

Apartments in Montana

Beginning Friday, September 4, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will implement a temporary eviction moratorium on all rental units nationwide, effective through the end of the year. 

Under the order, a landlord, owner of a residential property or other person with a legal right to pursue eviction or possessory action, may not evict any covered person from any residential property in the United States. 

The order protects from eviction any tenant, lessee or resident of a residential property who provides to their landlord, the owner of the residential property or other person with a legal right to pursue eviction or a possessory action, a declaration under penalty of perjury indicating that:

  • The individual has used best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing
  • The individual either 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), was not required to report any income in 2019 to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, received an Economic Impact Payment (stimulus check) pursuant to Section 2201 of the CARES Act
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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 order does not relieve any individual of any obligation to pay rent, make a housing payment or comply with any other obligation that the individual may have under a tenancy, lease or similar contract. Nothing in the order stops the charging or collecting of fees, penalties or interest as a result of the failure to pay rent or other housing payment on a timely basis, under the terms of any applicable contract.

The order is meant to achieve mitigation of the spread of COVID-19 within shared living settings, unsheltered homelessness, from one state to another and to support COVID-19 efforts at the Federal, State, local, territorial and tribal levels.

Failure to comply with the order may result in criminal charges. 

Landlords may still evict tenants for:

  • Engaging in criminal activity while 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
  • Violating any other contractual obligation, other than the timely payment of rent or similar housing-related payment, including non-payment or late payment of fees, penalties or interest.

Read the full CDC Order here.

Legal services for eviction protections are available to Montanans who cannot afford private legal counsel. Contact the Montana Legal Services Association at 1.800.666.6899 or online at MTLSA.ORG.

In addition, although the eviction moratorium under Gov. Bullock's directives expired for most tenants on May 24, 2020, some protections are still in effect. These are the protections that still apply to Montana renters:

  • For all landlords in Montana, Gov. Bullock's directive provides a temporary halt on evictions and other landlord actions resulting from a renter's nonpayment of rent, utilities, or other monetary obligations. To qualify for protection, a renter must meet all three of these conditions:
    • Renter must have suffered a significant financial hardship as a result of the virus, and;
    • Renter must remain sheltered at home, and;
    • Renter must have at least one of these conditions is true for the renter or someone in the renter's household: they are over 65, have a serious health condition, including high blood pressure, chronic lung disease, diabetes, obesity, or asthma or have an immune system that is compromised, such as by chemotherapy.

If there is a disagreement on whether an individual meets all three protection requirements, it is recommended that the court in jurisdiction consider the facts and provide clarity to the parties involved in the case.

Under the directive, a residential landlord in response to a qualified renter's nonpayment must not:

  • Terminate a tenancy or refuse to extend the terms of a tenancy on at least a month-to-month basis
  • Charge or accrue late fees, interest, or other charges, penalties, or amounts due from a tenant because of nonpayment of rent
  • Increase the amount of rent payable under the terms of a rental agreement, except previously agreed increases or reasonable increases reflecting the size of the unit, number of tenants or guests or services provided by the landlord
  • Request the suspension or termination of any utilities provided by the landlord to the tenant, because of the tenant's nonpayment of utilities, rents or other amounts due under the rental agreement
  • Report a tenant to a credit bureau for nonpayment of a financial obligation
  • Seek or collect treble damages based on the failure of a tenant or authorized guest to vacate the premises
  • Terminate a tenancy or refuse to renew or extend the terms of a residential dwelling tenancy on at least a month-to-month basis

Before moving forward with an eviction against a renter who is a member of a vulnerable population, the landlord must provide the renter with adequate notice of the opportunity to seek the protection of the Governor's Directive. See page 3 of Gov. Bullock's May 19 Directive.

Montana Housing encourages landlords and tenants to work together to avoid eviction. If an eviction is unavoidable, please consult your legal counsel to ensure compliance with all requirements of the federal CDC order, federal CARES Act and Gov. Bullock's directives before evicting any tenants.

Tenants and homeowners are not relieved from paying rent or make mortgage payments.

We encourage Montanans facing financial hardship due to COVID-19 to apply for the Emergency Housing Assistance program at COVIDRELIEF.MT.GOV.

Emergency Housing Assistance applicants who need assistance with the application can contact NeighborWorks Montana at covidrelief@nwmt.org or by calling 406.604.4500.

 
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COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DIVISION | MONTANA DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
301 S PARK AVENUE | PO BOX 200523 | HELENA, MT 59620-0523 | P: (406) 841-2770 | F: (406) 841-2771 | TDD: (406) 841-2702

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