The Federal Eviction Moratorium is Over, but State & Local Restrictions Remain

Envelop for an eviction notice to a defaulting renter in due to missed rent in recession

As the pandemic continues to affect the world, you’ve likely gotten a bit more familiar with how eviction and foreclosure moratoriums have been used to give additional assistance to renters, landlords, and homeowners. Unfortunately, the number of times these moratoriums have been implemented, renewed, extended, and ended, can make it confusing to know how you might still be affected. Here’s a look at which moratoriums have ended, which are still in effect, and how they may continue to affect your business.

The End of the Federal Eviction Moratorium

On August 26, the Supreme Court ruled to end the temporary stay on a lower court ruling seeking to overturn the federal eviction moratorium issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This ruling essentially invalidated the federal moratorium and eliminated eviction protections for millions of households across the country.

In response to the Supreme Court’s decision, the CDC, HHS, and Department of Housing and Urban Development have not made further recommendations that evictions be put on hold. Although many regions at the time required a few additional weeks before evictions could resume, there are no longer any federal restrictions on eviction due to COVID-19. However, there are still some restrictions at the state and local levels that you should be aware of.

Current Eviction Moratoriums and Other Rental-Related Restrictions

Here’s a list of some of the current state and local restrictions on eviction and other rent-related issues; keep in mind that this list isn’t all-inclusive. Always make sure to read up on your local laws when making policy changes, rent increases, or pursuing eviction. As we’ve seen with COVID-19, rental housing laws can change rapidly in response to the ongoing pandemic.

  • Inglewood, California

An emergency moratorium remains in place for all residential and commercial evictions for tenants who have proven that COVID-19 has contributed to their inability to pay rent through the California State of emergency (which has been extended through March 2022). These tenants have 12 months from the date that the CA state of emergency is terminated to pay back their unpaid rent. The repayment period is from 2/1/21 through 2/1/22.

  • Long Beach, California

An emergency temporary prohibition remains on evictions for “no-fault” demolition or substantial remodels of rental units. This ordinance was approved on 7/15/21 (retroactive to 7/6/21) and is valid through 12/31/21.

  • Marin County (unincorporated areas only)

There is a temporary moratorium on rent increases for tenants residing in census tracts 1290 (Marin City) and 1330 (West Marin, including Dillon Beach, Tomales, Marshall, Point Reyes Station, Nicasio, and areas of unincorporated Novato).

  • California

As of October 1, 2021, tenants who earn less than 80% of the area’s median income will be protected through a pre-eviction diversion process through the courts as long as they have submitted a completed application for rental relief.

  • Connecticut

The governor has ordered that landlords must take new steps before delivering a notice to pay or quit. A number of tenant protections have also been extended through February 15, 2022.

  • Minnesota

As of October 12, 2021, the eviction ban applied only to renters who have a pending COVID-19 rental assistance application. This protection is set to end on June 1, 2022.

  • New Jersey

Renters who qualify as very low to moderate income are protected from eviction due to nonpayment of rent through December 31, 2021, as long as they can prove their income level, hardship, and application for rental assistance. Landlords can still take them to court for the rent owed, but they cannot be evicted.

  • New Mexico

A temporary moratorium on evictions remains in place for tenants who have proven their inability to pay until at least December 12, 2021.

  • New York

The state’s COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2020 has been extended through January 15, 2022. This act prohibits eviction for tenants who have provided the court with evidence that they’ve experienced a COVID-19 related hardship.

How to Continue to Protect Your Business

At this point in the pandemic, you’re probably aware of what your tenants can and cannot handle. Despite that, we’re not out of the woods yet. The rise of new variants presents many unknowns.

Fortunately, even though the federal moratorium has ended, there are still several things you can do to keep your business protected.

  • Talk with lenders

Were you eligible for mortgage forbearance over the past year, but didn’t take advantage of it at the time? Most lenders are still offering some form of relief for property owners, but it may require you to reach out to them to put that relief into action.

  • Find ways to streamline your costs

With rising costs on everything from food to services, budgeting is very important right now. Although your tenants may not be struggling to pay rent, there is a chance you may miss out on unexpected income in the future. Keep a close eye on your finances and try to find ways to streamline costs where you’re able. Take a good look at your finances before expanding your investments.

  • Keep records of your rent

You may already be tracking your rental payments (in fact, this should be a part of your business plan) but it’s more important than ever to keep your record-keeping accurate. If you have tenants who can’t pay rent or are only making partial payments, make a point to keep clear, detailed, and accurate records. These will come in handy if your tenants don’t repay what they owe and you need to file for eviction.

  • Pursue eviction

If your properties are located in an area without eviction restrictions, you may want to consider eviction for tenants who have failed to pay rent for a year or more. Although it’s always good to have empathy for people who have fallen on hard times, there have been plenty of opportunities for most tenants to receive some form of rental assistance. Let the tenant know in advance that you’re considering eviction; this will give them a final chance to resolve the issue.

  • Continue to pursue eviction for other reasons

If you have tenants who are breaking their lease for reasons beyond nonpayment of rent, don’t hesitate to pursue eviction.

Moving Forward

As the pandemic continues, make sure you’re keeping current with state and local news that may affect your rentals. This will help you make plans for your business quickly if anything changes. Work with your tenants as much as possible to keep the rent flowing, but don’t overlook your legal rights. As you go, continue to document everything to make sure you’re receiving everything you’re owed.

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