Yesterday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an order titled “Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions to Prevent the Further Spread of COVID-19” which will go into effect beginning Friday, September 4, 2020, expiring on December 31, 2020.  It applies to all states which do not currently have an existing order halting evictions with “the same or greater level of public-health protection.”  The CDC order provides greater protection than Governor Ducey’s order, and thus will apply in Arizona.

The CARES Act initially provided an eviction moratorium, but expired several weeks ago.  Eviction filings have increased at the same time that landlords have reported collecting almost 30% less in rents during August as they did in March. The order applies to cases of non-payment of rent only.  Evictions based on risk of damage to property, violation of building codes or health ordinances, or criminal activity may still be pursued.

In order to make use of the moratorium, tenants must provide a declaration to their landlord attesting to:

  • Best efforts to obtain assistance for rent or housing.
  • Considerable loss of income, a lay-off, or unexpected and considerable medical expenses.
  • Best efforts to pay rent in part.
  • Statement that eviction would leave the tenant homeless or forced to live in a shared-living situation in close quarters.

Forms for tenants to fill out will be available on the CDC website when the order is published.

The order outlines steep penalties for violations by landlords:

  • If the violation does not result in a death, the penalty is a fine of not more than $100,000 or one year in jail, or both;
  • If the violation results in a death, the penalty is a fine of not more than $250,000 or one year in jail, or both.

It is important to note that tenants are not relieved of their obligation to pay rent, and they must provide the necessary proof to avoid eviction.  For legal help regarding evictions, contact Jesi Wolnik with Davis Miles McGuire Gardner.