COVID-19: CARES Act & Federal Restrictions on Evictions

On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed the COVID-19/Coronavirus Rescue bill or “CARES Act” into law.  The CARES Act has important implications for borrower/landlords of properties identified as “Covered Properties.” In short,  CARES Act “Covered Properties” are subject to specific eviction restrictions lasting until the end of July 2020. These restrictions are identified in Sections 4022 through 4024 of CARES.

“Covered Properties” are:  (1) properties that participate in a federal housing program or (2)  properties that have a “federally backed mortgage  loan” or “federally backed multi-family mortgage loan”.  The below table identifies the types of covered properties. The bolded terms are more common federal programs or “backed” loans.

Federal Housing Program

Federally Backed Mortgage Loan/Multi-Family Loan

•              Public housing (42 U.S.C. § 1437d)

•              Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program (42 U.S.C. § 1437f)

•              Section 8 project-based housing (42 U.S.C. § 1437f)

•              Section 202 housing for the elderly (12 U.S.C. § 1701q)3

•              Section 811 housing for people with disabilities (42 U.S.C. § 8013)

•              Section 236 multifamily rental housing (12 U.S.C. § 1715z–1)

•              Section 221(d)(3) Below Market Interest Rate (BMIR) housing (12 U.S.C. § 17151(d))

•              HOME (42 U.S.C. § 12741 et seq.)

•              Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) (42 U.S.C. § 12901, et seq.)

•              McKinney-Vento Act homelessness programs (42 U.S.C. § 11360, et seq.)

•              Section 515 Rural Rental Housing (42 U.S.C. § 1485)

•              Sections 514 and 516 Farm Labor Housing (42 U.S.C. §§ 1484, 1486)

•              Section 533 Housing Preservation Grants (42 U.S.C. § 1490m)

•              Section 538 multifamily rental housing (42 U.S.C. § 1490p-2)

•              Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) (26 U.S.C. § 42)

•              The Rural Housing Voucher Program (42 USC § 1490r)

• Federally Backed Mortgage Loan, 1-4 Family purchased or securitized by Fannie/Freddie (Note: Fannie and Freddie purchase the overwhelming majority of 1-4 family mortgages on the secondary market)

 

• Federally Backed Mortgage Loan, 5+ family  purchased or securitized by Fannie/Freddie

 

• Federally Backed Mortgage Loan or Multi-Family Loan insured, guaranteed, supplemented, or assisted in any way by the Federal Government.

 

 

 

For 120 days, measured from March 27, 2020 (in other words until July 25, 2020), landlords of covered properties cannot:

  1. Initiate/file any non-payment of rent proceedings against Tenants in covered properties;
  2. Charge/collect late fees from tenants.

This federal law preempts any state law or executive action which may have permitted the filing of non-payment cases but stayed the execution of a judgment for possession. Where New Jersey Governor Murphy’s EO106 permitted the filing of a nonpayment case, the CARES Act does not. The CARES Act specifically prohibits “any filing” or “initat[ion] of legal action to recover possession.

In short, if you are a landlord of a “Covered Property” you cannot initiate a nonpayment of rent case against a tenant, nor can you collect late fees for unpaid rent, during the time period March 27, 2020 to July 25, 2020.

If you a landlord of a property which does not meet the definition of a “Covered Property” (in its entirety) but you have tenants who receive Section 8 voucher assistance, those tenants who receive the voucher are protected by the eviction moratorium–even if other tenants are not.

Offit Kurman, P.A., maintains a broad-based landlord and property owner representation practice. In New Jersey, Offit Kurman represents landlords and property managers in maximizing return, resolving disputes and avoiding unnecessary and costly delays. The Firm’s New Jersey geographic practice area includes: Jersey City, Hoboken, Bayonne, Hudson County, Newark, Essex County, Woodbridge, Middlesex County, Paterson, Passaic County, Hackensack, Bergen County and other points across New Jersey.

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