Protecting Renter and Homeowner Rights During Our National Health Crisis
The National Housing Law Project has put together the following resources for attorneys, advocates, policymakers, and others for assistance during the COVID-19 national public health crisis. We will continue to update this with NHLP resources and other resources as they become available. Please email us with any additional resources to post.
At the end of June, the National Housing Law Project surveyed 100 legal aid and civil rights attorneys in 38 states to see how tenants were faring during the pandemic. Legal aid attorneys simply don’t know how they will be able to handle the possible 20-28 million evictions that could come by the end of September. Under the federal moratorium in the CARES Act and many state and local eviction moratoria, it is illegal to evict someone for not paying rent. The CARES Act moratorium expires July 24th. Starting July 25th, tenants will begin to get eviction notices unless Congress and the federal government act.
Federal Eviction Moratorium – The CARES Act | State and Local Eviction Moratoria | COVID-19 Litigation Resources | Tool for Tenants Advocates | Homeowner Protection and Resources | Policy Advocacy and Analysis | Federal Government Resources | Other National Resources
Webinar – End of the CARES Act Moratorium: mini-moratoriums, 30 day notice and eviction legal strategy in the pandemic National Housing Law Project hosted the webinar “End of the CARES Act Moratorium: mini-moratoriums, 30 day notice and eviction legal strategy in the pandemic.” Webinar materials are provided at the link above. (July 23, 2020)
CARES Act Eviction Moratorium Summary The federal stimulus package in response to COVID-19 (The CARES Act) was passed on March 27 and expired July 24. Landlords are still obligated indefinitely to provide a 30-day eviction notice for any property covered by the CARES Act. This 30-day notice overrides all state and local landlord-tenant law regarding notices for properties covered by CARES.The bill includes a moratorium on some residential evictions. This is a summary from NHLP of those eviction protections. (Text updated July 27, 2020; summary document updated April 28, 2020)
Is a Property Covered by the Federal Moratorium? There is no resource that can answer this question perfectly, but here are the resources available. In May 2020, ProPublica announced its database compiling many of the numbers listed in the following sentences. The National Low Income Housing Coalition maintains a searchable database and map. NLIHC and the Public and Affordable Housing Research Service also maintain the National Housing Preservation Database. This is Fannie Mae’s Multifamily Loan Lookup Tool and this is Freddie Mac’s Multifamily Loan Lookup Tool. Katherine Khashimura Long of Seattle Times created a federally-backed multifamily mortgage loan finder with properties with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, or FHA multifamily mortgage loans as of March 2020.
FAQ: Eligibility for Assistance Based on Immigration Status This fact sheet discusses eligibility under the CARES Act. NHLP also has this analysis about immigration requirements for ESG, CDBG, HOME, and FEMA assistance. (May 1, 2020)
Map of State Eviction Moratoriums These maps are prepared by Rachel Blake of Regional Housing Legal Services in consultation with Emily Benfer of Columbia Law School; Columbia public health students Marissa Yochelson Long and Janki Tailor; and NHLP staff. The maps are generated using data from the eviction moratoria spreadsheet managed by Benfer and students of Columbia Law School, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, and University of Pennsylvania Law School. To better understand the steps states have taken to prevent homelessness during and after the pandemic, the Eviction Lab and Columbia Law School’s Professor Emily Benfer developed a policy scorecard for each state.
Model State Moratorium This is NHLP’s model moratorium to stop all five phases of the eviction process, with provisions on late charges, landlord access to premises, and payment plans. Coronavirus Eviction Moratoria: Considerations and Best Practices is an NHLP analysis for federal, state, and local eviction moratoria.
Amicus Brief (Massachusetts eviction moratorium) submitted July 24, 2020, in Matorin v. Executive Office of Housing & Economic Development, a lawsuit pending in Massachusetts that challenges that state’s moratorium on “non-essential” eviction proceedings. Principally authored by NHLP with assistance from Joseph Sherman of MetroWest Legal Services in Framingham, Massachusetts. (July 24, 2020)
Complaint (FDCPA, state consumer protection act) U.S. District Court complaint against eviction law firm alleging unfair debt collection practices and consumer protection act violations in connection with prosecuting evictions against tenants protected by the eviction moratorium under Sec. 4024 of the CARES Act. Complaint by Frank With of Legal Services of Eastern Virginia. (posted July 15, 2020)
Draft Complaint (disability discrimination, due process, right to petition/access to court, failure to train, denial of public access, free speech, CARES Act) Ten count U.S. District Court complaint against housing provider and justice of the peace court for pursuing, hearing, and deciding unlawful eviction cases and for failing to adopt court procedures consistent with due process requirements and that provide equal access for people with disabilities and meaningful public participation. Prepared by Bill Quigley of Loyola Law School and Hannah Adams of Southeast Louisiana Legal Services. (posted July 15, 2020)
Louisiana Order of Reversal, Application, and Amicus Brief These are litigation materials from Louisiana concerning a trial court’s denial of a request to hear an eviction case remotely due to the tenant’s disability, which rendered her unable to attend an in-person hearing due to a higher risk of serious consequences if infected with Covid-19. After the justice of the peace court declined to order a remote hearing, the tenant (represented by Hannah Adams of Southeast Louisiana Legal Services) filed an application for review in the Louisiana Court of Appeals, which was granted in this order. Bill Quigley and David Finger of Loyola University New Orleans filed an amicus brief in support of the application. (posted July 8, 2020)
Complaint Template This is for use against a landlord or landlord’s agent for unlawfully filing or threatening to file eviction action in violation of the CARES Act. Created by Legal Aid Chicago, it includes both federal debt collection and state consumer protection act claims. (posted June 25, 2020)
Brief and Order of Dismissal This trial court brief seeks dismissal of an eviction lawsuit unlawfully filed under the CARES Act in Douglas County, NE. The motion to dismiss was granted in the accompanying order. Notably, the court considered and rejected HUD’s implication in EM12 that non-subsidized units in properties participating in the Housing Choice Voucher Program are not covered by Sec. 4024 of the CARES Act. The tenant was represented by Caitlin Cedfeldt of Legal Aid of Nebraska, who submitted a brief. (filed June 12, 2020)
Idaho Trial Court Amicus Brief Opposing Resumption of Eviction Proceedings Idaho ACLU and Idaho Legal Aid filed this friend of the court brief in Ada County, Idaho, on behalf of tenants facing eviction in resumed Idaho unlawful detainer proceedings. The brief raises extensive procedural due process arguments arising from general pandemic conditions as well as CARES Act moratoria, Idaho notice procedures, courtroom closures, and more. (posted here May 11; filed May 4, 2020)
Virginia Petition for Writ of Prohibition and supporting Memorandum of Law seeking an order from the Virginia Supreme Court restrains a local trial court from resuming in-person eviction hearings until to adopts procedures necessary to comply with the CARES Act and for complying with state judicial administrative orders designed to protect the due process rights of litigants. These pleadings were filed in on May 18, 2020, by the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society and Virginia Poverty Law Center. These followed a similar Petition and Memorandum of Law filed by the Virginia Legal Aid Society and Virginia Poverty Law Center on May 15, 2020, with assistance from NHLP and other organizations.
State court administrative orders requiring plaintiffs in residential eviction lawsuits to plead or otherwise establish non-applicability of a CARES Act eviction restriction:
- Arkansas Supreme Court – In Re Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic—Eviction Filings (Apr. 28, 2020)
- Georgia Supreme Court
- Idaho Supreme Court – In Re Eviction Moratorium under the CARES Act (May 4, 2020)
- Iowa Supreme Court Order (see pages 11-12) with CARES Act Landlord Verification Form and CARES Act Verification Form Instructions (May 22, 2020)
- Illinois Supreme Court M.R. 30370 – In re: Illinois Courts Response to COVID-19 Emergency – CARES Act (May 22, 2020)
- Michigan Supreme Court – Administrative Order No. 2020-8 (Apr. 16, 2020)
- Pennsylvania Supreme Court per curaim Order In re: Filing an affidavit of compliance with the federal CARES Act in landlord-tenant cases, No. 537 (July 16, 2020)
- South Carolina Supreme Court
- Texas Supreme Court Misc. Docket No. 20-9066 (May 14, 2020)
Eviction Predictor Tool Tool by global consulting firm Stout for estimating number of households at risk of eviction nationally and by state, as well as number of anticipated case filings and other information. (posted July 30, 2020)
Protecting Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence During COVID-19: A Q&A for Housing Providers (June 2020) This resource, published by the National Alliance for Safe Housing (NASH) and the National Housing Law Project (NHLP), provides information for owners and landlords in a Q&A format on how to help tenants/program participants experiencing domestic or sexual violence during the current pandemic.
Flyer for Public Housing and Voucher Tenants on the Federal Eviction Moratorium This is a flyer created for tenants by NHLP and the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials. (June 15, 2020)
Federal Court Challenges to State Eviction Proceedings During the Covid-19 Pandemic This memo discusses possible avenues for challenging local courts or state court systems under federal claims based on the due process, the CARES Act, or fair housing theories to stop them from hearing some or all residential eviction cases during the Covid-19 pandemic. It also discusses standing requirements, abstention doctrines, Anti-Injunction Act, judicial immunity, and Eleventh Amendment concerns. (May 29, 2020)
Procedural Due Process Challenges to Evictions During the Covid-19 Pandemic This NHLP memo explores due process arguments and defenses potentially available to individual tenants facing eviction during the COVID-19 pandemic, including issues related to notice of proceedings, difficulties with investigation and hearing preparation, and challenges presented by remote hearings. (updated May 22, 2020)
Tenant Rights of Domestic Violence Survivors During COVID-19: A Resource for Domestic Violence and Housing Advocates This NHLP resource for advocates provides a brief overview of the housing rights of survivors in the context of COVID-19. (May 4, 2020) En español: Derechos de las inquilinas sobrevivientes de violencia doméstica durante la epidemia de COVID-19 Un recurso para defensores de víctimas de violencia doméstica y de acceso a la vivienda (May 14, 2020)
Does a New Federal Law Protect You from Eviction? This fact sheet for tenants was created by NHLP, the Alliance for Housing Justice, and the National Low Income Housing Coalition. En español: ¿Le ofrece la nueva ley federal protección contra el desalojo? (May 5, 2020)
Analysis of HUD’s Public and Indian Housing Waiver Notice NHLP’s analysis of HUD’s PIH Notice 2020-05 regarding COVID-19 statutory and regulatory waivers includes (1) an overview of the notice (2) a list of key policies for advocating with your local PHA, (3) a summary of available waivers for the Housing Choice Voucher and Public Housing programs that impact tenants’ rights and housing access. (April 23, 2020)
Reasonable Accommodations and Disability Discrimination in the Context of COVID-19 This NHLP analysis provides an overview of the relationship between COVID-19 and the ability of tenants to obtain reasonable accommodations from their landlords. (April 6, 2020)
Foreclosure Protections and Mortgage Payment Relief for Homeowners This is an NHLP summary of single-family mortgage provisions in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) and related federal actions. (UPDATED June 18, 2020)
USDA Rural Development Single Family Direct Loan Servicing Options This is an NHLP memo on the CARES Act and USDA Rural Development (RD) loan servicing tools available in order to advise clients about which RD servicing tools are most beneficial to them. (UPDATED April 27, 2020)
Model State Legislation: Safe at Home Act. Model legislative text implementing many of the policies described in Safe at Home: Non-Monetary Relief for Tenants During the COVID Emergency (July 27, 2020)
Emergency Rental Assistance Recommendations This NHLP resource highlights principles for emergency rental assistance administration at the federal, state, and local levels. It also contains federal policy recommendations to address short and longer term emergency rental assistance needs under the Emergency Solutions Grants program, emergency vouchers, and the HOME Investment Partnerships program. (June 9, 2020)
Safe at Home: Non-Monetary Relief for Tenants During the COVID Emergency This NHLP document outlines a number of strategies besides rent relief to help tenants remain housed and to preserve stability during this time of economic uncertainty and health risk. (June 2, 2020)
Advocacy to Multiple Agencies
Protect Tenants and Manufactured Home Communities in GSE-backed Multifamily Mortgages 60 organizations including NHLP urge the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac to take steps to ensure that all tenants (including residents of manufactured housing communities) living in properties with GSE-backed multifamily mortgages are aware of the protections available to them under recent FHFA and GSE guidance regarding forbearances for multifamily mortgage borrowers. (July 21, 2020)
Create Searchable Mechanism for Tenants Letter from 94 organizations urging HUD, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), Veterans Affairs, and USDA to provide tenants with a mechanism to identify whether their apartment, home, or manufactured housing is covered by the tenant protections in the CARES Act. (May 1, 2020
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Advocacy
Revise HUD Guidance to Include Correct Coverage to Tax Credit Properties Under Federal Moratorium Joint letter from NHLP and NLIHC urging HUD to immediately revise its recent Public and Indian Housing and Multifamily guidance on the CARES Act eviction moratorium to correctly state that the moratorium applies to all tenants of any Low Income Housing Tax Credit property. (May 1, 2020)
Implement Key PHA and Owner Policies Joint letter from NHLP and NLIHC arguing that HUD’s waiver authority does not go far enough to protect tenants and maximize housing resources. (April 21, 2020)
Mandate and Streamline Interim Re-certifications Joint NHLP, NLIHC, and National Alliance of HUD Tenants memo urging HUD to take immediate action to mandate and streamline interim re-certifications, which HUD has the authority and funding to do. This is a follow-up to this March 26, 2020 letter to HUD that the same groups sent after HUD implemented some changes but not to the extent needed. (May 6, 2020)
Protect Seniors with Reverse Mortgages Joint letter demanding that HUD take additional steps to protect seniors with reverse mortgages. (March 24, 2020)
Analysis of HUD’s Authority to Impose an Eviction Moratorium HUD has the plenary power to declare a moratorium on eviction for all of its programs for the duration of the emergency. (March 19, 2020)
Implement Immediate Tenant and Homeowner Protection Joint NHLP and NLIHC letter urging HUD to take immediate steps to protect tenants and homeowners. (March 19, 2020)
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Advocacy
Provide Tenant Protections Joint letter from NHLP, NLIHC and Housing Assistance Council urging USDA’s Rural Housing Service to take a more proactive approach for eviction protections for all RHS-assisted tenants. (March 27, 2020)
Undertake Eviction and Foreclosure Protections Joint letter from NHLP, NLIHC, and LeadingAge urging USDA to take eviction and foreclosure and other actions to protect residents and homeowners. (March 20, 2020)
U.S. Congress Advocacy
Address the Needs of People Experiencing Homelessness Joint letter asking Congress to include resources to address the needs of people experiencing homelessness and to help ensure housing stability for low-income individuals. (March 19, 2020)
HUD Public Housing
HUD PIH Notice 2020-08, CARES Act – HCV Program Administrative Fees – Notice of CARES Act Funding for the Voucher Program (April 28, 2020)
HUD PIH Notice 2020-07, Implementation of Supplemental Guidance to the Federal Fiscal Year 2020 Operating Fund Appropriations – Notice of CARES Act funding for Public Housing (April 28, 2020)
HUD, COVID-19 FAQs for Public Housing Agencies This update includes new guidance on the eviction moratorium, repayment plans, and other topics. Notably, HUD has a new question and response making clear that tenants living in LIHTC properties are protected by the CARES Act (see EM15). (updated May 29,2020)
HUD, Eviction Moratorium, FAQs for Public Housing Agencies (updated April 21, 2020)
HUD PIH Notice 2020-05, COVID-19 Statutory and Regulatory Waivers for the Public Housing, Housing Choice Voucher, Indian Housing Block Grant and Indian Community Development Block Grant programs, Suspension of Public Housing Assessment System and Section Eight Management Assessment Program (April 10,2020)
HUD, Addressing Tenant Concerns Regarding Rent and the Temporary Suspension of Evictions for Nonpayment of Rent – PIH Tenant Flyer Other Languages: Translated Versions of Tenant Flyer
HUD Multifamily Housing
HUD, Questions and Answers for Office of Multifamily Housing Stakeholders (updated July 31, 2020)
HUD, Addressing Tenant Concerns During the COVID-19 National Emergency – Multifamily Tenant Flyer (updated May 2020) Other Languages: Translated Versions of Tenant Flyer
USDA Rural Development
RD Announces No Voucher Termination for Non-payment of Rent In response to a National Housing Law Project request, Rural Development (RD) announced on July 23, 2020, that RD voucher holders who are terminated for non-payment of rent during the pandemic will not also have their vouchers terminated. Instead of a voucher termination notice, RD will send them a standard move package that will allow them to relocate to other housing and continue to receive the voucher subsidy. (posted July 27, 2020)
RD Announces Post-CARES Act Tenant Protections Rural Development (RD) issued an email to its multifamily partners on July 20 informing them about three new or updated questions and answers on the impact of the CARES Act’s resident protections that expired on July 25. The release applies to all RD rental housing including the Section 515 and 538 rental programs, the Section 514 and 516 farm labor programs, and the RD Voucher program. Unfortunately, the protections extended to RD residents under this email are substantially weaker than the protections extended to residents of HUD multifamily housing. (posted July 27, 2020)
USDA Rural Development has multi-family rental housing initial actions in response to COVID-19. Rural Development continues to publish immediate action memos. Rural Development also has a COVID 19 Federal Rural Resource Guide.
Energy Efficiency for All’s website tracking state and local housing policy responses to COVID-19. The tracking includes utility disconnection policies, eviction moratoria, and announced LIHTC policies.
National Alliance for Safe Housing, COVID-19 Response Resources This site provides links to a number of resources for advocates who serve survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
National Center for State Courts has the current status of state court closings.
National Council of State Housing Agencies’ list of state housing finance agencies’ announcements/guidance.
National Consumer Law Center has some helpful resources about various consumer issues relating to the current emergency, including what homeowners should know about available mortgage relief.
National Fair Housing Alliance has additional information regarding a range of fair housing issues.
National Low Income Housing Coalition’s website has some great resources on federal, state, and local information.
Join the Housing Justice Network!
The Housing Justice Network (HJN) is a dedicated community of professionals who serve on the front lines to advance housing rights. The HJN is an informal network of more than 700 experienced housing advocates and clients from throughout the country. The network is hosted by the National Housing Law Project but the content, history and soul of HJN is carried by attorneys and advocates across the country who work on housing rights. Membership in HJN is open to those who regularly represent low- and very-low income persons and households on housing issues. Typically, HJN members are attorneys or other housing advocates who represent low-income residents and homeowners in judicial, administrative or legislative proceedings.