According to a recent CFPB report, the pandemic has left more than 8.8 million consumers behind on their rent. Tenants at risk of homelessness are disproportionately people of color, primarily Black and Hispanic families. Federal, state, and local governments, including the CDC, have put temporary holds on evictions for non-payment of rent – a measure proven to help stop the spread of COVID-19. If you work in the housing sector, you’ll want to read a joint statement from FTC Acting Chair Slaughter and CFPB Acting Director Uejio on that subject.
The CDC has just announced a 90-day extension of its eviction moratorium for non-payment of rent and has issued procedures for eligible tenants to follow to put a temporary halt on the eviction process. As a result, you may be receiving CDC-issued forms from your tenants. The FTC has more information about that process, including links to sample declarations.
For businesses, the important message from Acting Chair Slaughter and Acting Director Uejio is that staff at the FTC and CFPB will be monitoring eviction practices – particularly by major multistate landlords, eviction management services, and private equity firms – to ensure companies are complying with the law. Evicting tenants in violation of the CDC, state, or local moratoriums – or evicting or threatening to evict them without telling them their legal rights under a moratorium – may violate prohibitions against deceptive and unfair practices, including under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the FTC Act. Honoring those standards is an important step toward protecting consumers and public health.
The FTC has additional tips for consumers and small businesses about weathering the financial impact of COVID-19.