Summary of Eviction FAQs for Renters
Please note: Guidance may have changed since this blog post was published. Please click here for the most current information.
The following is a summary of the CDC document "HHS/CDC Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions to Prevent the Further Spread of COVID-19: Frequently Asked Questions." To review the full document, please click here.
To prevent further spread of COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently issued an Order that temporarily halts residential evictions under certain circumstances. To help clarify the details of this Order, the CDC published additional guidance and answers to frequently asked questions. We've gone one step further and provided a summary of all this information for you below, along with specific information and resources for Alaskan families.
Why did the CDC Issue this Order?
The CDC issued this Order because evictions threaten to increase the spread of COVID-19. During a pandemic, calling a temporary halt to evictions can be an effective public health measure to prevent the spread of disease. A temporary halt of evictions can help people who get sick or who are at risk for severe illness from COVID-19 protect themselves and others by staying in one place to quarantine. These orders also allow state and local authorities to more easily implement stay-at-home and social distancing measures to lessen the community spread of COVID-19. Housing stability helps protect public health because homelessness increases the likelihood that people may move into close quarters in homeless shelters or other settings. These crowded places put people at higher risk of getting COVID-19. People who are homeless and not in a shelter also have increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
What does the Order do?
The Order temporarily halts residential evictions of covered persons (see definition below) for nonpayment of rent during September 4, 2020, through December 31, 2020. This means that a landlord, owner of a residential property, or other person with a legal right to pursue an eviction or a possessory action cannot evict for nonpayment of rent any covered person from any property leased for residential purposes.
What does the CDC Mean by “Eviction”?
“Eviction” means any action by a landlord, owner of a residential property, or other person with a legal right to pursue eviction or a possessory action, to remove or cause the removal of a covered person from a residential property. As indicated in the Order, courts should take into account the Order’s instruction not to evict a covered person from rental properties. Follow the links below to learn about the eviction process in Alaska and your rights as a renter.
- Alaska Court System: Evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic
- HUD: Your Rights as a Renter
- Landlord and Tenant Act
Who is a “Covered Person” for Purposes of this Order?
A "covered person" is 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 that:
- The individual has used best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing;
- The individual either (i) expects to earn no more than $99,000 in annual income for Calendar Year 2020 (or no more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return), (ii) was not required to report any income in 2019 to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, or (iii) received an Economic Impact Payment (stimulus check) pursuant to Section 2201 of the CARES Act;
- The individual is unable to pay the full rent or make a full housing payment due to substantial loss of household income, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, a lay-off, or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses;
- The individual is using best efforts to make timely partial payments that are as close to the full payment as the individual's circumstances may permit, taking into account other non-discretionary expenses; and
- Eviction would likely render the individual homeless — or force the individual to move into and live in close quarters in a new congregate or shared living setting — because the individual has no other available housing options.
AHFC VOUCHER RECIPIENTS
If you use an AHFC Housing Voucher, your rental is managed by a private landlord. Due to the temporary ban on evictions put in place by the federal government, if you meet certain eligibility requirements your landlord cannot evict you even if you are unable to pay your rent. Learn more here.
PUBLIC HOUSING FAMILIES
If you live in public housing, AHFC will not evict residents for nonpayment of rent if they are experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19. This temporary eviction ban will last through December 31, 2020. However, AHFC will continue to notify residents of overdue rent balances and residents who fail to comply with the terms of their lease agreement or other rules may still be subject to eviction. Learn more here.
Can I Still be Evicted for Reasons Other than Not Paying Full Rent?
Yes. The Order does not prevent you from being evicted for:
- engaging in criminal activity while on the premises;
- threatening the health or safety of other residents;
- damaging or posing an immediate and significant risk of damage to property;
- violating any applicable building code, health ordinance, or similar regulation relating to health and safety; or
- violating any other contractual obligation of a tenant’s lease, other than the timely payment of rent or similar housing-related payment (including nonpayment or late payment of any fees, penalties, or interest).
How do I Notify My Landlord that I am Covered Under this Order?
A tenant, lessee, or resident of a residential property must provide a completed and signed copy of the declaration to their landlord, owner of the residential property where they live, or other person who has a right to have them evicted or removed from where they live. The declaration may be signed and transmitted either electronically or by hard copy. Each adult listed on the lease, rental agreement, or housing contract should complete the declaration. In certain circumstances, such as individuals filing a joint tax return, it may be appropriate for one member of the residence to provide an executed declaration on behalf of other adult residents party to the lease, rental agreement, or housing contract at issue. Landlords are not required to make their tenants aware of the Order and Declaration, but they must otherwise comply with all requirements of the Order.
What Happens after I Provide this Declaration to My Landlord?
Covered persons may not be evicted for non-payment of rent solely on the basis of the failure to pay rent or similar charges at any time during the effective period of the Order. Landlords may continue to charge rent and accept partial payments from tenants during this time. Landlords may also agree to a repayment schedule with tenants for back rent payments that have accumulated during this time. Tenants retain all existing rights and protections against eviction under applicable state law. The Order does not preclude a landlord from challenging the truthfulness of a tenant’s declaration in court. The Protections of the Order for the tenant apply until the court decides the issue as long as the Order remains in effect.
If I am Covered by this Order, Do I Still Owe Rent to My Landlord?
Yes. Covered people still owe rent to their landlords. The Order halts residential evictions only temporarily. Covered persons still must fulfill their obligation to pay rent and follow all the other terms of their lease and rules of the place where they live. Covered persons must use best efforts to make timely partial payments that are as close to the full payment as their individual circumstances permit, considering other non-discretionary expenses. When the Order expires, consistent with the applicable landlord-tenant or real-property laws, a covered person will owe their landlord any unpaid rent and any fees, penalties, or interest as a result of their failure to pay rent or make a timely housing payment during the period of the Order. Follow the links below for information on how to prioritize paying rent and request a repayment plan with your landlord.
What if I Think I Might be Evicted, or Want to Appeal an Eviction Decision?
Any evictions for nonpayment of rent that may have been initiated before September 4, 2020, and have yet to be completed, will be subject to the Order. Any tenant who qualifies as a covered person and is still present in a rental unit is entitled to protections under the Order. Any eviction that occurred before September 4, 2020, is not subject to the Order. For legal advice, you should seek the assistance of a legal aid program or private legal counsel.
I Have Already Been Evicted. Does this Order Apply to Me?
The effective date of the CDC Order is September 4, 2020. That means that any evictions for nonpayment of rent that may have been initiated prior to September 4, 2020, but have yet to be completed, will be subject to the Order. Any tenant who qualifies as a covered person and is still present in a rental unit is entitled to protections under the Order. Any eviction that occurred prior to September 4, 2020 is not subject to the Order.
Can I be Evicted if I Have, or Have Been Exposed to, COVID-19?
Individuals who are confirmed to have, have been exposed to, or might have COVID-19 and take reasonable precautions to not spread the disease should not be evicted on the ground that they may pose a health or safety threat to other residents. Individuals who might have COVID-19 are advised to self-isolate except to get medical care. Click here for more information.
I'm Not Eligible for Eviction Protection. Where Can I Find Rental Assistance?
If you don't meet the eligibility requirements for the eviction ban, you may still have options. AHFC has implemented a special hardship process to provide immediate rent relief to AHFC families affected by income loss due to COVID-19. If you live in Public Housing or receive a Rental Voucher, we encourage you to apply for the Safety Net program and to make use of other resources available to you, linked below.
- AHFC: Reduced Rent Through AHFC's Safety Net Program
- AHFC: Financial Resources (reducing utility costs, money management advice, relief funding, etc.)
- HUD Resources for Renters
- Federal Protections for Renters