CARES Act Imposes 120 Day Moratorium on Some Residential Evictions

The Federal CARES Act that was signed into law on March 27, 2020 includes a 120-day moratorium on evictions of tenants in federally financed housing based solely on nonpayment of rent or other fees or charges.

The CARES Act further prohibits a lessor/landlord of a covered property from charging any tenant fees, penalties or other charges for nonpayment of rent during this time. During the moratorium period, the landlord of a covered property also cannot “require a tenant to vacate a dwelling unit before the date that is 30 days after the date on which the lessor provides the tenant with a notice to vacate” and may not issue a notice to vacate until after the expiration of the moratorium period.

The moratorium applies to “covered properties,” which is defined as a property that: (1) participates in a covered housing program as defined in Section 41411(a) of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA), including, but not limited to: public housing under 42 U.S.C. §1437(d); Section 8 project-based housing; Low Income Tax Credit Housing; HUD Section 202 housing for the elderly; HUD Section 811 housing for people with disabilities; (2) participates in the rural housing voucher program under section 542 of the Housing Act of 1949; or (3) has a federally backed mortgage loan or federally backed multifamily mortgage loan.

The CARES Act does not apply to cases that: (1) were filed before the moratorium took effect or that are filed after it expires or (2) that involve non-covered properties.

The CARES Act should not be interpreted to mean that a tenant is completely relieved from the obligation of paying rent during this time period. Rent is still due and owing pursuant to the Lease, and a failure to pay rent may result in the tenant being evicted once the moratorium expires.

It is important to be aware that the CARES Act does not prevent any landlord (including a landlord of “covered properties”) from serving lease termination notices or filing for eviction of a tenant based on lease violations that are unrelated to non-payment of rent.

Contact the attorneys at Black, Slaughter & Black, P.A. in Greensboro, Charlotte, Wilmington or the Triangle if you have questions about the moratorium and how it applies to you.