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huntsville, alabama, city

Trump administration announces nationwide eviction moratorium through end of year

The Trump Administration said Tuesday it is implementing a national four-month moratorium on residential evictions. The moratorium, announced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was the latest measure by the administration to get a handle on the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic

The eviction moratorium will apply to all residential rentals nationwide, but it’s different than the Alabama eviction moratorium issued by Governor Kay Ivey a few months back.

Tenants are not automatically protected from eviction in this national order, but it creates affirmative defense.

“It doesnt stop a landlord from filing but it creates a defense that the tenant can use,” says Huntsville Landlord/Tenant Attorney Sarah Taggart.

Giving tenants a way to stop an eviction based on non payment of rent. The order requires tenants to take specific steps

“They have to fill out an affidavit and have to give it to their landlord or present it to the court indicating that they are under a certain income threshold, that they have had their income adversely affected by COVID, that they have tried to exhaust all mechanisms to make partial payments, that they’ve looked for all sorts of government aid and that they would become homeless otherwise,” says Taggart.

The order applies to rental property nationwide and Attorney Sarah Taggart says there are things in the order that are still unclear.

“Housing attorneys on both sides of the cases are tenant attorneys and landlord attorneys are just flummoxed with what to do with this and how it’s going to work,” says Taggart.

Landlords will still have costs, even if they are not getting paid by tenants.

“Especially your mom and pop landlords who rely on this rental income to pay their bills. Without any kind of rental assistance all this is going to do is kick the can down the road,” says Taggart.

The eviction moratorium has been announced but isn’t set to go into effect until September 4. Taggart says landlords can still evict for conduct.

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