If you're worried about making rent because of the impact of COVID-19, it's important to figure out if you're legally protected from eviction. Under Section 4024 of the CARES Act, it's illegal for your landlord to begin eviction proceedings until July if you live in a building with a federally-backed mortgage. Since the eviction process takes several weeks, that means that you'll be able to stay in your home until at least August 25th, 2020.
How can I figure out if my landlord's mortgage is federally backed?
Less than a third of mortgages are federally backed: 12.4% of buildings with up to four units, and 28% of properties with five or more units.
Some of those units—1.6 million, to be exact—are backed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), as opposed to Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae. Check this list of 15,591 federally-backed buildings for your address. If you find it, then you live in a HUD-backed building and you are covered by CARES.
If you didn't find your address, then there's no way to find out. All you can do, according to the National Housing Law Project is demand proof of no federal backing from your landlord.
Am I protected against eviction by local laws?
If your landlord's mortgage isn't federally backed, then they'll only be constrained by state or city eviction moratoriums—many of which are ending in May, unless they are extended by local officials. Here's a list of state eviction moratoriums, but the situation is constantly evolving. You should check local news sources to see if freezes on court activity have been updated or extended in your state or city.
If you can't pay your rent, the first thing you should do is try to get your landlord to agree to a payment schedule. They may have gotten a deferral on their own mortgage payments from their bank, which should give them more flexibility when it comes to accepting rent payments.
Resources from this answer
- List of buildings where you're definitely covered by the CARES Act
- List of state eviction moratoriums
- List of state-specific resources for tenants affected by COVID-19
The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.