US Attorney’s Office Statement on CDC Moratorium on Evictions
In September of 2020, the CDC issued a federal order imposing a Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions to Prevent the Further Spread of COVID-19. That order, which has since been extended through March 31, 2021, prohibits landlords from evicting tenants for non-payment of rent during the period between September 4, 2020 and the end of March. In Rhode Island, the State District Court has issued an order implementing this policy; that order has also extended relief through March 31, 2021.
Under the CDC and state court orders, tenants who meet income eligibility requirements (generally, those who earn less than $99,000 per year, or $198,000 if filing jointly) and who are unable to pay their full rent due to substantial loss of household income, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, a lay-off, or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses can obtain protection from eviction by providing a sworn declaration regarding their situation to their landlord. Once this declaration is provided, a landlord is prohibited from evicting the tenant while the moratorium remains in effect, and is subject to substantial penalties, including fines of up to $250,000 and up to a year in jail. The order does not affect the obligation of tenants to pay rent, however, nor does it bar the collection of fees, penalties, and interest.