CARES Act Evictions Moratorium Ends; Minnesota Moratorium Continues with Modifications
On July 22, 2020 by Bobbie Guidry
While the national prohibition on nonpayment evictions will lift July 25, there are still have ongoing restrictions in Minnesota. Governor Walz last week issued Executive Orders 20-79, which rescinded Executive Orders 20-14 and 20-73 and issued new guidance on eviction suspensions during the duration of the peacetime emergency. Both the rescission and the new order are effective Aug. 4.
The Governor’s order modifies the eviction protections to allow evictions in additional limited circumstances. It also requires landlords to give residential tenants a seven-day notice of intent to file an eviction to help mitigate the impact on residential tenants and encourage resolutions without court involvement. Nothing in the Executive Order relieves a tenant’s obligation to pay rent.
The suspension does not include eviction actions where the tenant:
- Seriously endangers the safety of other residents;
- Violates Minnesota Statute 2019, section 504B.171, subdivision 1;
- Remains in the property past the vacate date after receiving a notice to vacate or nonrenewal under the new exception below for residential landlords to accommodate family needs; or
- Materially violates a residential lease by the following actions on the premises, including the common area and the curtilage of the premises:
- Seriously endangers the safety of others; or
- Significantly damages property.
A new exception was added to allow residential landlords who issue a termination of lease or nonrenewal of lease due to the need to move the property owner or property owner’s family member(s) into the property and where the property owner or property owner’s family member(s) move into the property within seven days after it is vacated by the tenant.
These changes were announced the same day the Governor also approved the release of $100 million in funds for a program to provide housing assistance to prevent evictions and maintain housing stability for Minnesotans in the face of economic challenges due to COVID-19.
The suspension in eviction activity does not include eviction actions based on cases where the tenant seriously endangers the safety of other residents or for violations of any person who willfully violates such an order or rule is guilty of a misdemeanor.
As federal moratorium eviction provisions will sunset on July 25, Rural Housing Service (RHS) has updated its frequently asked questions for multifamily housing provider. HUD also issued two informational pieces earlier this month for multifamily owners regarding these CARES Act provisions.
In RHS’s latest FAQ for multifamily housing reminds stakeholders that the CARES Act’s prohibition on late fees remains in place for the period covered by the CARES Act, meaning that if a resident has unpaid rent on Aug. 1, retroactive late fees may not be assessed; late fees may only be charged going forward.
Multifamily housing owners and agents are encouraged to work with tenants wherever possible to assist them in maintaining housing, including processing interim certifications if possible or arranging payment plans for past-due balances.
RHS said tenants who completed a previous interim recertification may need to complete a second interim certification. If staff are no longer maintaining office hours, management must ensure tenants have a way to maintain contact, report emergency maintenance issues and ask questions or request an interim certification.
“It is strongly recommended that both a phone number and email address are provided to tenants as contact options. Electronic rent payment may be offered as an option, but must not be mandatory and no additional fees may be charged. Digital signatures may be utilized during the recertification process as needed,” said the Rural Housing Services.