The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an order on Tuesday, September 1, 2020, protecting low to moderate-income renters from eviction for nonpayment of rent throughout the remainder of 2020.

The order’s eviction moratorium protects only renters who meet all of the following:

  • The renter must expect to earn no more than $99,000 in annual income in 2020 ($198,000 if filing a joint return), was not required to report income to the IRS in 2019 (SSA or other benefit recipients), or received a stimulus check under the CARES Act;
  • The renter has tried their best to apply for all available government assistance available for rent or housing;
  • The renter is unable to pay all the rent as a result of a substantial loss of household income, loss of compensable work hours or wages, a layoff, or “extraordinary” out-of-pocket medical expenses (=unreimbursed medical expenses that exceed 7.5% of adjusted gross income for the year);
  • The renter is trying their best to make timely and full payments as the renter’s circumstances permit, taking into account other nondiscretionary expenses; and
  • If evicted, the renter would likely become homeless, need to move into a homeless shelter, or move into a new congregate or shared living setting (i.e., where residents live in close quarters) because the individual has no other available housing options.

To qualify under the moratorium, the renter must also submit a declaration (or written statement) to their landlord under penalty of perjury that they meet these standards. Renters can be subject to criminal penalties for making false statements. Lone Star Legal Aid has created a Declaration for tenants to use if they meet the criteria above.

The CDC Eviction Ban Sample Form is also available here in Spanish and Vietnamese.

Please note: Under the moratorium, renters are still subject to late fees, penalties, and interest for nonpayment of rent.

The CDC has determined that evictions during a pandemic constitute a public health crisis. That is why the CDC has stopped evictions for nonpayment of rent through the end of the year if the conditions listed above are met. LSLA’s Eviction Right to Counsel Project in Houston and its housing lawyers firm-wide are ready to help tenants stay in their homes. Lone Star Legal Aid accepts applications from tenants facing eviction or who fear eviction throughout its Houston and East Texas service area. Tenants can apply for free legal help by calling 1-800-733-8394 or online at www.lonestarlegal.org.

Lone Star Legal Aid hosted a Facebook Live event on Wednesday, September 2, 2020, at 1:00 PM CST to discuss the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s order preventing eviction for the remainder of 2020. Leaders in their field, Dana Karni, Manager of LSLA’s Eviction Right to Counsel Project, and Jon-Ross Trevino, Manager of LSLA’s Houston Housing and Consumer Division, presented.

You can view a recording of that video here: https://www.facebook.com/LoneStarLegalAid/videos/239032640719438

Lone Star Legal Aid is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit law firm focused on advocacy on behalf of low-income and underserved populations. Lone Star Legal Aid serves millions of people at 125% of federal poverty guidelines that reside in 72 counties in the eastern and Gulf Coast regions of Texas, and 4 counties of southwest Arkansas. Lone Star Legal Aid focuses its resources on maintaining, enhancing, and protecting income and economic stability; preserving housing; improving outcomes for children; establishing and sustaining family safety and stability, health and well‐being; and assisting populations with special vulnerabilities, like those who have disabilities, or who are elderly, homeless, or have limited English language skills. To learn more about Lone Star Legal Aid, visit our website at http://www.lonestarlegal.org.

Media contact: Clarissa Ayala, cayala@lonestarlegal.org