CDC Eviction Moratorium: HUD Guidance, Translations of Declaration Form and Lawsuit

HUD’s Office of Multifamily Housing is encouraging owners to inform residents of the eviction protections under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) order and the required declaration form. In particular, owners of HUD-assisted and Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insured properties who are notifying residents that their tenancy will be terminated for nonpayment of rent or fees while this order remains in force should inform residents of the protections available to them under this order and should document such notifications in the tenant file. A resident cannot be required to complete the declaration form but will not have the CDC eviction protection without it.

The National Housing Law Project (NHLP) is working with partners to translate the declaration form. The form is currently available in Spanish, Vietnamese and Arabic. Additional translations of the form will be made available soon, check NHLP’s website for the most current listings.

A Virginia landlord filed a lawsuit on September 8 and requested a temporary restraining order against the CDC recent order setting a nationwide moratorium on evictions through the end of 2020.

New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA), which bills itself as a non-partisan group taking on the “administrative state,” said in the complaint that CDC lacks authority under statue and regulation to issue the eviction moratorium. Further, NCLA said, the order limits the rights of access to courts, violates the Supremacy Clause, raises non-delegation concerns and implicates anti-commandeering principles and precedents.

NCLA said in the complaint that landlord Rick Brown’s tenant owes more than $8,000 in back rent on a $925 per month rental property in Winchester, VA. The landlord would face a $100,000 fine under the CDC order for evicting the tenant. The Virginia Supreme Court recently declined Gov. Ralph Northam’s (D) request to extend an eviction moratorium in the state.

“An administrative agency has no authority to overrule duly enacted state laws across the country that protect landlords from delinquent tenants when a contract is in place,” Caleb Kruckenberg, NCLA Litigation Counsel, said in a press release.

The case is Brown v. Azar et. al, 1:20-CV-03702, N.D. Ga.