The National Eviction Moratorium – An Update

As we roll into the last month of 2020, landlords are uncertain about the status of the national eviction moratorium put in place by the Centers For Disease Control (CDC) earlier in the year and subsequent state measures ordered by Governor Cuomo in Albany.

As of today, December 5th, both the national CDC ordered ban and Governor’s Cuomo’s moratorium are set to expire on January 1, 2021. However, this is a fluid situation with moving parts. Let me explain.

The CDC eviction moratorium could be extended, conceivably, by another CDC order or through national legislation. Within the past few days, there have been rumblings in Washington, D.C. that a third Coronavirus relief package on a 900 billion dollar scale is now on the table. This legislation could include an eviction moratorium provision. Whether that moratorium would be identical to or even similar in language to the current CDC order is unknown.

In Albany, the New York State eviction moratorium is also set to expire on January 1st. There is no word yet on whether the Governor will extend this moratorium or let it expire. An additional prohibition on shutting off utility services for non-payment of bills is also set to expire at the end of the year.

Where does this leave landlords? Prudence demands that we hope for the best and prepare for a continuation (for the next few months) of current policies.

Since March 2020, landlords have been required to bear the burden of unpaid rents caused by economic disruptions due to the pandemic. There is no “Landlord Relief Bill” being offered up in Washington, D.C. Landlords may be able to get some relief through broader legislation (if that legislation passes this month), but, again, this is an unknown.

Here’s a link to a legal website that covers the eviction moratorium issue closely and updates hourly. I advise that you check in with Nolo periodically this month to keep up with the latest developments. Of course, we will update you through this blog and/or on our Facebook and Instagram social media pages as we learn more.

There has been some confusion on what the CDC’s national eviction moratorium includes and does not include. The order only stops evictions for non-payment of rent. Other lease violations – such as becoming a nuisance and criminal behavior – are still enforceable with eviction. Under penalty of perjury, the proper paperwork must be submitted by a tenant to take advantage of the moratorium. The Nolo website (the link is presented twice in the previous paragraph) can lead you to more information on all of these details.

With COVID cases rising again, not just in New York State but nationwide, short-term we may be facing more restrictions. But within the next few days, Coronavirus vaccines are expected to be approved by the FDA, and distribution to the most vulnerable and first responders should start almost immediately.

During this holiday season, let’s remember that many of our friends and neighbors have not only struggled through a tortuous 2020, but they also face a very uncertain short-term future. Small businesses, particularly those that rely on in-person purchasing such as restaurants, bars, gyms, hair salons, and retail stores, are in crisis. That means the people those businesses employ are hurting too. Our leadership in Washington, D.C., and Albany must further address the economic plight of those devastated by the measures taken to protect us all from COVID.

As landlords, while we must stay vigilant, there are ample reasons to be hopeful about 2021. The most contentious election in the past 50 years is now behind us (or will be after December 14th). COVID’s ability to hamstring our economy and endanger our health should be over within six months when everyone is vaccinated.

Once lockdowns and movement restrictions are history, landlord-tenant relationships should return to normal, which is good for everyone long-term.

If you have a residential property or properties in Westchester County that you are interested in renting, now is the time to put them on the market. At Sterling Property Solutions, we have a team in place that can answer all your questions and address any challenges.

If you are already a landlord and no longer have the time or desire to handle rental property management on your own, we can help. Maybe your current property management company is not giving you the top tier service you deserve. If so, reach out. We are there for you.

Please give me a ring at 914-355-3277 or send me an email at [email protected].