Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Provides Guidance on CARES Act Eviction Moratoriums

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) posted a blog on May 11, “Protections for Renters During the Coronavirus Pandemic.” This easy-to-read guide explains CARES Act eviction moratoriums and includes links to help renters find out if the building they live in is covered by the moratorium. After explaining the moratorium, the post lists types of properties subject to the moratorium, including Section 8 project-based housing and Low-Income Housing Tax Credit properties. NLIHC’s multifamily housing search tool is prominently listed twice. CFPB indicates that renters can call HUD at 800-955-2232 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm ET to learn if their home is covered.

To learn whether a home in a property with five or more units has a federally backed mortgage and is therefore covered by the eviction moratorium, the blog lists the Fannie Mae look up tool and Freddie Mac look up tool (see Memo, 5/11). Renters may also call Fannie Mae’s Helpline at 877-542-9723 and Freddie Mac’s Helpline at 800-404-3097.

The blog states that renters may be protected from eviction for longer than 120 days if their landlord is getting mortgage relief. The CARES Act gives landlords the right to temporary relief (forbearance) from making mortgage payments if they have a federally backed mortgage. The blog advises renters to ask their landlord if there is mortgage relief, and if necessary, confirm using the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac look up tools.

During the mortgage relief period, a landlord cannot:

  • Evict a tenant or start an eviction solely for nonpayment of rent or other fees or charges
  • Charge any late fees or penalties for late payments of rent
  • Give a renter a 30-day notice to vacate

The blog adds that many state and local governments have stopped evictions because of the coronavirus pandemic. The details of how renters are protected and for how long depend on where they live. Some states have prohibited any eviction notices or action, stopped all court eviction hearings, or stopped enforcing eviction orders or judgments. Renters can go to the Eviction Lab’s list of state and local eviction and foreclosure limits to find out if their state or local community has eviction protections n place during this time.

Protections from utility and phone disconnections may also exist. Many states have suspended public utility disconnections. Tenants can check with their state utility commission to learn if there are protections. The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) developed a tool for tracking state responses to the pandemic. Renters can also contact local utilities.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has temporarily waived Lifeline usage requirements and general de-enrollment procedures until May 29. An FCC order released on March 30 ensures that no current Lifeline subscribers are involuntarily removed from the Lifeline program during this time of national crisis.

The CFPB blog is at: