The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an order declaring a national moratorium on certain residential evictions for nonpayment of rent, as well as other fees or charges. The moratorium took effect September 4 and lasts through December 31, 2020. It applies only when eligible tenants present their landlords with a certain signed declaration.
The order prohibits a landlord from “evict[ing]” a covered person from residential rental property. “Evict and Eviction means any action by a landlord, owner of a residential property, or other person with a legal right to pursue eviction or a possessory action, to remove or cause the removal of a covered person from a residential property.” Therefore, it could be argued that if a tenant provides the landlord with a declaration, the landlord cannot file an eviction complaint until after December 31. New Jersey’s statewide orders and directives only postpone lockouts.
The order is aimed at evictions for nonpayment of rent. It does not cover evictions for
- Engaging in criminal activity while on the premises;
- Threatening the health or safety of other residents;
- Damaging or posing an immediate and significant risk of damage to property;
- Violating any applicable building code, health ordinance, or similar regulation relating to health and safety; or
- Violating any other contractual obligation, other than the timely payment of rent or similar housing-related payment (including non-payment or late payment of fees, penalties, or interest).
A declaration could be sent any time before a lockout during the period of the moratorium. The CDC offers a sample declaration that tenants can use: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/declaration-form.pdf. Tenants should seek legal advice first before sending the sworn declaration. An advocate can evaluate whether sending a declaration would be helpful.
There is still a statewide moratorium on evictions in New Jersey where the majority of tenants cannot be locked out until after December 1. (See FAQ - I am a tenant. Can I be evicted during the pandemic? at https://www.lsnjlaw.org/Health-Care/Coronavirus/Pages/HousingFAQ-Q1.aspx). The CDC Order does not replace the broader eviction moratorium in place in New Jersey, but it may extend the moratorium until December 31 for certain tenants.
(Return to Frequently Asked Questions for Tenants, Hotel/Motel Residents, and Other Occupants During COVID-19)