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Landlord Alert: CDC Issues Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions

Client Alert

On September 1 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) issued a nationwide temporary halt on all residential evictions through December 31, 2020.  With the July 24, 2020 expiration of the prior moratorium established under the CARES Act, the CDC based the new moratorium on the need to protect public health and the likely increase in the spread of COVID-19 if mass evictions take place.

Under the CDC’s Order, “a landlord, owner of a residential property, or other person with a legal right to pursue eviction or possessory action, shall not evict any covered person from any residential property in any jurisdiction to which this Order applies ***.”  Tenants facing the prospect of eviction and wishing to invoke the moratorium must provide the landlord with a signed declaration containing specific sworn statements including:

  • The tenant has used best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing.
  • The tenant expects to earn no more than $99,000 in calendar year 2020 (or $198,000 for joint tax filers).
  • The tenant is unable to pay the full rent due to substantial loss of household income.
  • The tenant is using best efforts to make partial rent payments.
  • Eviction would likely render the tenant homeless.

While the CDC’s Order broadly defines what constitutes a residential property and is intended to halt all efforts to remove a tenant for failing to pay rent until the end of the year, it does not relieve the obligation to pay rent or to comply with any other lease obligations. Thus, the Order does not preclude evictions based on criminal conduct, health and safety concerns of other residents, violations of applicable health ordinances and building codes, or the violation of other lease obligations that do not include the timely payment of rent.

Landlords need to be mindful of the CDC Order and seek legal counsel if contemplating eviction between now and the end of the year. Penalties for not complying are steep for an individual and include (i) fines of up to $100,000 if the violation does not result in a death, (ii) fines of up to $250,000 if the violation results in a death, (iii) and can in addition include one year in jail. Penalties for an organization violating the CDC Order similarly are based on whether the violation resulted in a death and can climb as high as $500,000 per violation.

For questions for more information, please contact Member Blake R. Gerney at brgerney@bmdllc.com, or your primary BMD attorney.

Sweeping Changes Proposed for Federal Title IX Legislation

Monica B. Andress and Krista D. Warren

The Latest CMS Guidance: HIPAA Edition

Metaverse in the Workplace: What Do Employers Need to Know?

Emerging technologies are creating a host of new legal issues for employers. The rise of the metaverse has been one of the most anticipated expansions over the last few years. The metaverse is a virtual world that allows users to interact with each other in simulated environments. The metaverse in the workplace has been expanding rapidly as businesses explore the use of virtual reality and augmented reality to improve workflows and communication.

A Win for the Hospitals: An Update on the Latest 340B Lawsuit

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court unanimously rejected massive payment cuts to hospitals under the 340B drug discount program. Now, the Department of Health and Human Services no longer has the discretion to change 340B reimbursement rates without gathering data on what hospitals actually pay for outpatient drugs. This “straightforward” ruling was based on the text and structure of the statute, per the Supreme Court. Simply put, because HHS did not conduct a survey of hospitals’ acquisition costs, HHS acted unlawfully by reducing the reimbursement rates for 340B hospitals.

New Office of Environmental Justice Announced

The profound impacts of climate change, combined with environmental and industrial pollutions, have led the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish the Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ). The creation of OEJ aligns with President Biden’s Executive Order Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad. The OEJ will be led by Sharunda Buchanan, a former official for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and will target disadvantaged communities around the country in hopes of improving the health of those populations and preventing future harm.