Eviction Ban Extended for Renters
Important Update: Eviction Moratorium Extended Through December 31, 2020
The Trump administration issued an order which is intended to temporarily halt residential evictions as a result of COVID-19. This eviction moratorium was enacted through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday, September 4, 2020 to prevent further spread of COVID-19. The order makes it illegal to evict any individual who qualifies, and allows tenants to stay in their housing through the end of the year. Tenants will still be required to pay rent owed per the terms of their lease, and may be subject to fees, penalties, or interest in accordance with their rent or lease agreement.
In order to qualify for the eviction protection, you must declare that:
- Your expected 2020 income will fall below the threshold set out in the order, which is less than $99,000, or $198,000 as a joint-filing couple;
- You have sought all potential sources of federal housing aid;
- You cannot afford to pay the rent due to a pandemic-related job loss or expense despite your best efforts to do so;
- You have been making your best effort to pay rental payments as your circumstances allow;
- An eviction would likely lead to homelessness and/or a housing situation that would put you or others at risk of spreading COVID-19.
There are exceptions. You may be evicted for reasons other than not paying rent or making a housing payment. You can review the full order from the CDC here.
Contact Your Landlord to Declare Eligibility
If you meet the above qualifications, you need to contact your landlord directly to declare your eligibility.
Write your declaration. Every adult who is on the lease should draft and sign their own declaration. The CDC provides a sample declaration, which you can download here.
- Email, mail, or hand your declaration(s) to the landlord in a way that allows you to get proof that the landlord received them. Make sure you keep a copy for yourself.
If you don't meet the eligibility requirements for this new eviction ban, you still have options! There are many resources available to you, such as rent relief and financial assistance for other expenses. Read on to learn more.
Participants in AHFC’s Public Housing Programs: AHFC's Safety Net Program
If you use an AHFC Housing Choice Voucher or live in public housing, you may be eligible to receive enhanced rent relief through our Safety Net program. AHFC has implemented a special hardship process to provide immediate rent relief to our families affected by income loss due to COVID-19.
Anchorage Residents: Anchorage's Rent Relief Program
The Municipality is partnering with United Way of Anchorage's 2-1-1 to provide rent support for individuals economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The application period will remain open until funds are exhausted or September 30, 2020, whichever comes first. Candidates will be screened for eligibility by Lutheran Social Services and translation services are available.
- To Apply Call 2-1-1 or 1-800-478-2221
Alaska Residents: Alaska 2-1-1
Are you short on food or in need of other help? Alaska 2-1-1 is your one-stop resource for finding assistance. It’s free, confidential and available in many languages.
Other COVID-19 Relief Programs
There are several federal and state agencies responsible for providing financial assistance to renters suffering financial hardships because of the pandemic. Follow the links below (and check back frequently for updates) to stay informed about any new policies that apply to you.
- HUD Resources for Renters
- Emergency Bans by State on Evictions and Other Tenant Protections Related to Coronavirus (NOLO)
- Federal Protections for Renters
If you are struggling to pay your rent, and do not qualify under the new eviction ban, you should contact your landlord before your next rent payment is due. With tenants unable to pay rent due to reduced income or other factors, many landlords or property management offices are allowing a repayment agreement. Repayment agreements outline a plan for the tenant to come back into compliance with the terms of their tenancy, and ensure that families may continue to be housed.
Contacting Your Landlord to Discuss a Plan for Repayment
- Be candid about your situation. If you’re impacted by COVID-19 or other difficulties, share how your income has been affected.
- Consider mentioning any resources and assistance options you’ve found.
- Explain how your family would be impacted by a loss of housing.
- Ask about payment arrangements. Establish a plan that works for you and do not agree to payment amounts or schedules that you are unable to support.
- Keep any email and text conversations and make notes of when you spoke in person.
- Keep in mind that your landlord is likely experiencing challenges as well. Communicate clearly and calmly.
- If you are nervous or need help with the details, ask someone to be with you during the conversation, or get free legal advice.
Resources for Talking with Your Landlord
- Prepare what you'll say before contacting your landlord. Download this Sample Script for Requesting a Rental Repayment Plan.
- Your landlord will likely ask you for some additional information. Download this List of Questions/Documents Your Landlord May Request.
- Make sure that you know your rights and what information you are — and are not — required to provide under the Fair Housing Act.
- Get to know what a repayment agreement looks like so that you are familiar with the details, or if your landlord asks you to provide one. Download sample agreements here and here.
It’s important to note that even if you qualify for this new eviction moratorium, this does not relieve you of your obligation to pay your rent. It merely prevents your landlord from evicting you during this period for late payment. Review your finances and develop a plan to keep your housing secure. Follow the links below to learn more about making a budget, how to reduce your expenses in other areas, resources for immediate financial assistance, and more.
- AHFC: Review Financial Resources (reducing utility costs, money management advice, relief funding, etc.)
- AHFC: Look for More Affordable Housing
- AHFC: Apply for Reduced Rent
- AHFC: Get Assistance Buying Groceries
- AHFC: Ready Yourself for Employment or a New Career
- Anchorage Residents: Learn How to Apply for Rent Relief
- Find Immediate Assistance Through Alaska 2-1-1
- Find Immediate Jobs Available Due to COVID-19
- Look Up Your Benefits Eligibility (TANF, SNAP, etc.)
- Learn About Unemployment Expanded Eligibility and Enhanced Benefits
- Learn About Economic Impact Payments
- Find Childcare for Essential Workers
- Get Free Tax Preparation
Will You Be Evicted?
If you have not been able to pay your rent since the COVID-19 pandemic began, you may benefit from the temporary eviction moratorium now in place. However, if you are still struggling to pay rent once the moratorium is lifted — or if you are not eligible under the current eviction ban — your landlord may have the legal right to implement eviction proceedings.
- A landlord is allowed to evict a tenant for failing to pay rent on time.
- In Alaska, rent is considered late the day after it’s due. Grace periods (if any) are addressed in the rental agreement/lease.
- Once rent is past due, the landlord must provide tenants with a "7-Day Notice to Pay" if the landlord wants to file an eviction action with the court. This notice gives the tenant the option to pay the past due amount in full within seven days (or move out) in order to avoid eviction.
- If the tenant does not pay the rent due by the end of the notice period and remains on the property, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.
- Under federal law, your landlord cannot discriminate based on race, ethnicity, family status, disability, or other factors. Some localities and states also prohibit unequal treatment based on the tenant’s source of income (housing assistance, child support, disability payments, etc).
- If your landlord has a federally backed mortgage, they may be getting temporary relief from making their mortgage payments. Although some landlords are required to inform all residents of the prohibition against eviction solely for nonpayment of rent, you may not know if your landlord is getting this relief unless you ask them directly. If your landlord is getting mortgage payment relief, then you may be protected from eviction for a longer period of time.
- Learn More About the Eviction Process in Alaska
- Learn More About Your Rights as a Renter
Reach Out if You Need Help
Staying housed in a time of crisis is difficult and can stretch a lot of personal resources, not just your finances. Seek help when you need it by reaching out to the confidential resources below.
- AHFC: Resources for Your Health and Wellness
- HHS COVID Mental Health Resources
- CDC Mental Health Guidance
Editor's Note: Updated on September 4, 2020 to reflect new federal order and temporary halt in residential evictions.