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HUD PIH Updates Guidance on CDC Eviction Moratorium

HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) on November 18 updated its guidance regarding the temporary eviction moratorium order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (see Memo, 9/8, 9/14). The CDC eviction moratorium ends on December 31. PIH issued guidance in the form of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) posted as a standalone document on October 19 (see Memo, 10/26). The updated FAQ includes revisions to five answers and an additional 11 questions.

The updated FAQ includes a link to translated versions of the CDC declaration posted on HUD’s website. NLIHC also has posted to our National Moratorium website the declaration along with a fact sheet in English and 13 other languages.

The updated answer to EM-CDC 2 states that PIH provided public housing agencies (PHAs), landlords, and owners with an eviction moratorium flyer in English that can be distributed to tenants to assist with resident notification. HUD has translated the tenant flyer into additional languages. While the CDC order does not require PHAs, landlords, or owners to notify residents, HUD “strongly encourages” resident notification.

EM-CDC 5 states Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) participants may also provide the CDC resident declaration to the PHA to ensure that the family’s voucher assistance continues.

The CDC order requires residents to certify that they have “used best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent and housing.” In addition to considering participation in a rental assistance program, EM-CDC 7 clarifies that residents in the HCV and public housing programs may consider whether they submitted a request to the PHA for an interim reexamination to adjust their rent downward for a change in income or expenses. EM-CDC 8 clarifies that regardless of whether an interim reexamination or a minimum rent hardship exemption is requested, HCV and public housing residents remain responsible for certifying to truthful information in the declaration regarding whether they have used best efforts to pay full or partial rent owed.

EM-CDC 11 states that PHAs are not permitted to directly pay tenants’ rent or offer debt forgiveness programs with CARES Act funds, public housing operating or capital funds, or HCV funds. HUD encourages PHAs to connect tenants with local partners and organizations that may be able to offer assistance. For the HCV program, PHAs can provide owners with retention fees or other incentive fees that may assist a resident who needs to enter into a repayment agreement for unpaid rent.

EM-CDC 12 and EM-CDC 16 outline actions PHAs can take to prevent the eviction of public housing residents and HCV families after the CDC eviction moratorium expires. HUD encourages PHAs to consider if an interim reexamination is appropriate, even if the family does not request one. HUD also encourages PHAs to consider retroactive rent adjustment, to the extent PHA policies allow for it and circumstances warrant it. HUD encourages PHAs to offer public housing families repayment agreements.

PHAs can take steps to prevent evictions of HCV families by processing a retroactive interim reexamination – if warranted, encouraging owners to enter into a repayment agreement for unpaid rent, and/or using CARES Act Administrative fees to offer a retention incentive to owners who are willing to work with the family and/or PHA.

HUD encourages PHAs to use applicable attachments in the “Eviction Prevention and Stability Toolkit” that was initially developed in response to the now-expired CARES Act eviction moratorium.

In EM-CDC 13 and EM-CDC 17, HUD strongly encourages PHAs to notify HCV and Mod Rehab program landlords that the CDC eviction moratorium is in effect and differs from the expired CARES Act eviction moratorium.

EM-CDC 14 clarifies that while the CDC eviction moratorium is in effect, PHAs cannot terminate a voucher participant’s assistance for nonpayment of rent. Voucher program participants should report income changes to the PHA so their rent portion can be adjusted, helping families avoid eviction or losing assistance after the moratorium ends on December 31, 2020.

EM-CDC 15 outlines steps HCV holders can take if they believe their landlord is wrongfully evicting them while the CDC order is in effect.

HUD added three questions (EM-CDC 18-20) regarding Indian Housing Programs. The PIH FAQ states that Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG) and IHBG-CARES funds can be used to provide rental assistance to IHBG-eligible families, including rental assistance to landlords of residents living in privately-owned housing. The FAQ also states that Tribes and Tribally Designated Housing Entities (TDHEs) that own or operate housing under the IHBG program can choose to forgive rents owed by assisted families. For more information, PIH directs individuals to the COVID-19 FAQs previously published by HUD’s Office of Native American Programs. HUD also clarifies that the CDC order does not apply to foreclosures on home mortgages.

PIH’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Eviction Moratorium FAQs for HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing is at: https://bit.ly/3fjRb0s

More about public housing is on page 4-30 of NLIHC’s 2020 Advocates’ Guide.

More about Housing Choice Vouchers housing is on page 4-1 of NLIHC’s 2020 Advocates’ Guide.