The eviction moratorium imposed by the CARES Act earlier this year has already expired. But in September, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued another one -- this time extending the measure beyond federally backed properties to virtually any renter facing hard times. The move has caused difficulty for landlords and property owners all over the country. Many are unable to collect rent, and others are dealing with bad tenants they can't remove. Fortunately, the moratorium won't last forever.
Are you looking to evict a nonpaying tenant or poorly behaved renter? Here's when you might be able to.
Is the end in sight?
According to the CDC document announcing the halt on evictions, the order technically ends December 31, 2020. That means landlords can take steps to begin evicting tenants as early as January 1, 2021.
Be warned, though: There's a good chance this measure will get extended. Unlike the moratorium under the CARES Act, this one isn't all about renters down on their luck. Instead, it's part of a larger health initiative. In the CDC's own words, "In the context of a pandemic, eviction moratoria -- like quarantine, isolation, and social distancing -- can be an effective public health measure utilized to prevent the spread of communicable disease."
The logic is that by keeping tenants from being evicted, the CDC is also keeping them from becoming homeless or having to live in cramped settings with friends or family, thus spreading the virus further. With this reasoning in mind, it's highly likely the moratorium will get extended, particularly if coronavirus cases continue to rise (as is currently happening).
The bottom line
Though the eviction moratorium is slated to end at the close of December, there's a good chance it will be extended. Of course, only time will tell. If the pandemic eases up and COVID-19 cases see a stark decline, evictions may very well be possible in the new year.
In the meantime, if you're struggling financially due to nonpaying tenants, there are ways to ease the burden. First, work with your tenants to set up payment plans or negotiate partial rent. You might also consider allowing digital or credit card payments so your tenants can charge their rent if necessary.
Finally, avoid putting any new units on the market. If a tenant leaves voluntarily, be extra careful about who you fill the vacancy with. Make sure they're employed, have a steady income, and can be relied on to pay their rent despite the pandemic.