On September 4, 2020, to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) issued an Order under Section 361 of the Public Health Service Act to temporarily halt residential evictions (the “Order”). The Order was deemed effective immediately and will expire on December 31, 2020 (the “Effective Period”). This Order will be enforced by federal authorities and cooperating state and local authorities through the provisions of 18 U.S.C. 3559, 3571; 42 U.S.C. 243, 268, 271; and 42 CFR 70.18.
As COVID-19 continues to present a historic threat to public health, federal, state and local government authorities have taken unprecedented and exceedingly rare actions in response to such threat, including, without limitation, border closures, restrictions on travel, stay-at-home orders, mask requirements and eviction moratoria. The Order focuses on the reasons for issuing an extended federal eviction moratorium and considerations for each individual, corporation, company, association, firm, partnership, society or joint stock company (each, a “Person”) affected by the Order. The Order does not apply to: (i) any state, local, territorial or tribal area with a moratorium on residential evictions that provides the same or greater level of public-health protection than the Order, or (ii) American Samoa until such time as COVID-19 cases are reported in such territory. Accordingly, despite the Order, state, local, territorial or tribal authorities may impose additional requirements that provide greater public health protections and are more restrictive than the Order.
Eviction moratoria can be an effective public health measure to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 for the following reasons:
The Order provides that, during the Effective Period, no Person with a legal right to pursue eviction or possessory action (each, an “Authorized Person”) may evict any Covered Person (as defined below) from any residential property in any jurisdiction to which the Order applies. For the purposes of the Order, a “Covered Person” “means 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:
In order to invoke the Order and obtain the benefits under same, a Covered Person must provide an executed copy of the declaration provided below (or similar declaration under penalty of perjury) (the “Declaration”) to an Authorized Person. Each adult listed on the lease, rental agreement, or housing contract must also complete and provide a Declaration.
Although the order provides for the protections outlined above for Covered Persons, the Order does not preclude any Person from being required to comply with all of the terms of its lease and rules of the place where such Person lives, including without limitation, the payment of rent and any and all fees, penalties or interest as a result of the failure to pay rent or other housing payment on a timely basis as required under the lease. Any Person may still be evicted for reasons other than not paying rent or making a housing payment. For example, evictions may still occur as a result of a tenant: (i) engaging in criminal activity while on the premises; (ii) threatening the health or safety of other residents; (iii) damaging or posing an immediate and significant risk of damage to property; or (iv) violating any applicable building code, health ordinance, or similar regulation relating to health and safety.
This declaration is for tenants, lessees, or residents of residential properties who are covered by the CDC's order temporarily halting residential evictions (not including foreclosures on home mortgages) to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. Under the CDC's order you must provide a copy of this declaration to your landlord, owner of the residential property where you live, or other person who has a right to have you evicted or removed from where you live. Each adult listed on the lease, rental agreement, or housing contract should complete this declaration. Unless the CDC order is extended, changed, or ended, the order prevents you from being evicted or removed from where you are living through December 31, 2020. You are still required to pay rent and follow all the other terms of your lease and rules of the place where you live. You may also still be evicted for reasons other than not paying rent or making a housing payment. This declaration is sworn testimony, meaning that you can be prosecuted, go to jail, or pay a fine if you lie, mislead, or omit important information.
I certify under penalty of perjury, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1746, that the foregoing are true and correct:
I understand that any false or misleading statements or omissions may result in criminal and civil actions for fines, penalties, damages, or imprisonment.
Signature of Declarant: _______________ Date: _______________
Under 18 U.S.C. 3559, 3571; 42 U.S.C. 271; and 42 CFR 70.18, a person violating the Order may be subject to (i) a fine of no more than $100,000 if the violation does not result in a death or one year in jail, or both, or (ii) a fine of no more than $250,000 if the violation results in a death or one year in jail, or both, or as otherwise provided by law. An organization (which, for purposes of clarity, is not clearly defined in the Order) violating the order may be subject to a fine of no more than $200,000 per event if the violation does not result in a death or $500,000 per event if the violation results in a death or as otherwise provided by law. The U.S. Department of Justice may initiate court proceedings as appropriate seeking imposition of these criminal penalties.
Based upon the foregoing, it is important to for all affected by the Order to consider the following in connection with the Order:
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