Never Say Never! CDC Extends Eviction Moratorium Again until October 3, 2021

August 6, 2021

In June 2021, Rochelle Walensky, Director of the CDC extended the eviction moratorium until July 30, 2021.  At that time, the intention was to allow any further extensions absent an unexpected change in the trajectory of the global pandemic.  Enter stage right the Delta variant which has increased the number of COVID-19 cases across the United States.  As a result, the CDC has extended the moratorium until October 3, 2021 to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/communication/Signed-CDC-Eviction-Order.pdf).  The CDC Order issued on August 3, 2021 (“Order”) is not a blanket extension of the pre-existing Order.  

The Order is limited to those areas experiencing “substantial transmission”.  The Order however states that if landlords are not currently in a “substantial transmission” county but later receive the “substantial transmission” designation then landlords must comply with the mandates of the Order.

So what does that mean for landlords in Pennsylvania?  With 29 counties currently designated “substantial transmission” the moratorium continues for almost half of the state.  

Coverage under the CDC Declaration now requires the following criteria:

  • Expect to have income less than $99,000 in 2020 (joint $198,000), or have received a stimulus check, or not have been required to report income to the IRS in 2019;
  • Be unable to pay full rent due to an income loss or “extraordinary” medical bills;
  • Have used best efforts make timely partial rent payments that are as close to the full rent payment as the individual’s circumstances may permit, taking into account other nondiscretionary expenses;
  • Eviction would likely render the individual homeless or force them to “live in close quarters” in a new congregate or shared living setting; and 
  • The individual resides in a U.S. County experiencing substantial or high rates of community transition levels as defined by CDC.

With the exception to past litigation challenging the CDC’s authority to issue said Orders, as the moratorium continued landlords have attempted ability to challenge the truthfulness of the tenant’s CDC declaration.  Prior to the Order there were a patchwork of state and local courts that permitted the challenges, but some courts have remained silent on whether it would permit such a challenge.  Some reasoning offered by local courts was that prior CDC orders did not speak to the landlord’s ability to challenge the tenant’s declaration.  The most recent Order now specifically states that nothing in the Order prohibits a landlord from challenging the statements in the CDC Declaration in court, as permitted by state or local law.

With this specific language now inserted in the Order, only time will tell on whether a new area of litigation is ignited because of the CDC’s continued extension of the moratorium.  

If you have questions pertaining to landlord-tenant matters, Robyn B. Eisen can be contacted at reisen@smgglaw.com or 412-227-0292.