The Center is working to ensure that all of Connecticut’s residents have access to the home of their choice. Please join us.
Since the public health emergency began on March 10, landlords have taken steps to move tenants out:
- Landlords have filed 3,429 new summary process (eviction) cases in court.
- Courts have issued 922 executions—Once a court issues an execution order, the landlord can hire a state marshal to remove the tenant and their belongings from the unit.
- Tenants who have eviction cases filed against them or whose landlords have obtained executions are in danger of losing their homes and at greater risk of contracting and/or spreading the coronavirus.
What’s happened since January 28, 2021:
New research again suggests that increasing housing stability prevents COVID-related infections and deaths: Research from Duke University found policies that limit evictions are found to reduce COVID-19 infections by 3.8% and reduce deaths by 11%. Moratoria on utility disconnections reduce COVID-19 infections by 4.4% and mortality rates by 7.4%. Had such policies been adopted as federal policy from early March 2020 through the end of November 2020, the researchers estimated that policies that limit evictions could have reduced COVID-19 infections by 14.2% and deaths by 40.7%. For moratoria on utility disconnections, COVID-19 infections rates could have been reduced by 8.7% and deaths by 14.8%. Housing precarity policies that prevent eviction and utility disconnections have been effective mechanisms for decreasing both COVID-19 infections and deaths.
10 million renters behind on rent nationwide: According to Moody’s Analytics, as of late December 2020, more than 10 million renters were behind on their rent payments and at risk of being evicted. At more than one in six renters, that’s three times the typical rate. To put that into some perspective, approximately seven million households lost their homes in foreclosure during the five darkest years of the global financial crisis (2008-2012).
Women lose more jobs than men as part of the pandemic: A recent report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that employers cut 140,000 jobs in December 2020, and that women — specifically women of color —accounted for all of the job losses. Women lost 156,000 jobs, while men gained 16,000. Of the women losing jobs, Blacks and Latinas lost jobs, while White women made significant gains. In Connecticut, 176,000 women filed unemployment claims during the peak claim month of May 2020 compared to only 142,000 claims from men.
CT Data Collaborative releases Essential Equity website: Women, Covid-19, and Rebuilding CT data platform. Their analysis concludes that women of color are experiencing greater housing instability than any other group. Data shows that one in three females who reported their race or ethnicity as Black or other feel slight or no confidence in their ability to pay rent or mortgage in the coming month, compared to one in seven white females.
Democrats propose bill to repeal Connecticut’s “poverty tax” House Speaker Matt Ritter (D-Hartford) and House Appropriations Chair Toni Walker (D-New Haven) joined Rev. Isaac Lawson with the Center for Leadership and Justice to discuss legislation repealing the state’s inequitable “Poverty Tax.”If passed, the bill will end most liens imposed by the Department of Social Services when a resident receives state assistance. Connecticut has one of the strictest welfare lien laws in the country and is one of only two states to still require the liens. As explained by a former recipient of assistance and a foster mom, she hoped to sell her home and retire to Georgia. However, the State is refusing to let her sell her home until she pays off a 4- year-old lien for $37,000 imposed when she was raising her son as a single mother. This would consume much of the profit — and retirement security — she hoped to get by selling her house.
Connecticut residents can register for an appointment to get a COVID-19 vaccine: At present, Connecticut residents 75 and over qualify to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. Appointments can be made on-line or by calling 860-972-4993 (Hartford HealthCare) or 860-679-4400 (UConn Health) or (877) 918-2224 (the state vaccine system).
As many as 161,000 Connecticut tenants at risk of eviction: A report from Stout, Risius, Ross LLC using estimates from the Census Bureau’s 2020 Pulse Survey, estimate that between 77,000 and 161,000 tenants in Connecticut are at risk of eviction and owe between $149 million and $274 million in back rent. In addition, January 2021 Pulse Data shows that 48% of people who are Latino and 23% of people who are Black have little or no confidence that they will be able to pay the rent in February compared to only 12% of people who are white.
Lack of data obscures true nature of eviction crisis: One-third of US counties have no annual eviction figures. Even as city and state governments race to distribute the new rental assistance money appropriated by Congress, they are discovering that data about evictions is so poor, that they do not know who is losing their homes and how to focus aid. The solution is to create a federal eviction database to help track and address housing insecurity. While Connecticut has eviction data for the state collected by the Judicial Branch, the format of the data makes it difficult to access.
The Connecticut eviction moratorium is scheduled to expire on Tuesday, February 9, 2021: Under Executive Order 9T, the Connecticut eviction moratorium expires February 9, 2021. At least through Feb. 9, 2021, landlords are only permitted to start an eviction case if a tenant:
a) owes rent that was due on or before February 29, 2020;
b) owes six or more months’ worth of rent that was due on or after March 1, 2020;
c) created a serious nuisance; or
d) has a lease that expired and the landlord has a bona fide intention to use the unit as the landlord’s primary residence.
New CDC director extends federal eviction moratorium until at least March 31, 2021: The new director of the Centers for Disease Control has extended the federal CDC eviction moratorium to March 31, 2021. The CDC director will also begin a process to get input in needed improvements including whether to extend the moratorium until June 30, 2021 as proposed in President Biden’s COVID-19 relief package.
Tenants not covered by the Connecticut moratorium may still qualify for the federal CDC moratorium if they cannot pay their full rent or other housing payments because someone in their household lost income or has very expensive out-of-pocket medical bills. However, the CDC moratorium’s protection is not automatic and each adult in the household must meet specific requirements. To receive protection under the CDC moratorium, each adult in your household (18 or older) should:
- Read the Declaration form and its eligibility requirements carefully;
- Sign the Declaration form, if all the information is true about your situation;
- Give the Declaration form to the landlord; and
- Keep a copy of the signed Declaration.
There is also an online platform available in English and Spanish that can help you sign the Declaration form electronically and email it to your landlord. If you already have an eviction case in court, you should also give copies of the declarations to the court.
Visit our website for a fact sheet on both the Connecticut and CDC eviction moratoriums.
Paying Rent: Tenants are still required to pay rent, even if they qualify for the Connecticut eviction moratorium or gave a CDC eviction moratorium declaration to their landlord. If you cannot pay your full rent, you should still pay as much of the rent as possible on time and keep any records of your payments. To be protected by the Connecticut moratorium’s ban on nonpayment evictions, you must bring and keep the total amount of rent you owe to 6 months of rent or less.
Applying a Portion of Your Security Deposit to Rent: Under Executive Order 9T, if you paid a security deposit that is more than one month’s rent, you can apply the portion that is more than one month’s rent toward rent that was due between April 1, 2020 and February 9, 2021. You must make this request to your landlord in writing and should keep a copy of your request.
Rental assistance for people without legal status: The State’s rental assistance program for people without legal status is still open. To access this assistance, tenants should contact Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants (CIRI) at 1-203-612-5464 or firstname.lastname@example.org. More program information is available here, and a Spanish-language webinar is available here.
211: Additional government rental assistance may be available through programs administered by local organizations and municipalities. Tenants may call 2-1-1 to confirm what rent and housing assistance is available in their area.
Responding to Eviction Papers: Tenants should not ignore eviction papers, filing deadlines, or notices about remote court events. Courts are entering Default Judgments against tenants who fail to file forms on time or attend remote court events. Once a Default Judgment is entered against a tenant, the landlord can ask the court for an execution. An execution gives the landlord permission to hire a marshal to remove the tenant. Learn more about the eviction court process.
Remote Court Dates: Courts are scheduling remote trials, hearings, and mediations. Tenants should receive a notice from the court when a court date is scheduled. Tenants can also confirm if they have an upcoming court date by looking up their case on the Judicial website or contact the clerk’s office. Once on their case page, they can also sign up for email alerts about their case. If a court date is scheduled, tenants must attend either by video or phone—even if they have already given their landlord a CDC declaration. Tenant should make sure to send their email address and phone number to the email address listed on the court notice so that the court can send them a link to join the meeting via video or phone.
The public costs of COVID-19 related evictions could top $1.2 billion in Connecticut: The National Low Income Housing Coalition estimates that the public costs of eviction related homelessness could go as high as $1.2 billion or as low as $628 million. The public costs of eviction related homelessness include shelter costs, inpatient medical care, and hospital emergency department costs among others.
Connecticut Right to Counsel: In late December, a petition was launched by Central CT DSA that calls on Connecticut legislators to pass Right to Counsel legislation guaranteeing the right to no-cost legal counsel to all residential tenants facing eviction proceedings. The petition has received more than 900 signatures and 35 organizational endorsements, including from Connecticut Legal Services, Connecticut Legal Rights Project, Connecticut Fair Housing Center, Connecticut Veterans Legal Center, Connecticut AFL-CIO, Junta for Progressive Action, Make the Road CT, National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel, and New Haven Legal Assistance Association. Read, sign, and share the petition here.
Recently released data shows extent of mortgage delinquencies in Connecticut communities: Using data from several sources, it is clear that mortgage delinquencies have been at very high levels in many Connecticut communities while the number of people with mortgage forbearances – people falling behind with the temporary permission of their mortgage companies – is also high.
Mortgage forbearance requests extended to March 31, 2021—Effective immediately, the deadline for single family borrowers with FHA-insured mortgages to request an initial COVID-19 forbearance from their mortgage servicer to defer or reduce their mortgage payments for up to six months is extended to through March 31, 2021,. If needed, this forbearance can be extended for an additional six months. The deadline to request an initial extension period for HECM borrowers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic is also extended through March 31, 2021.
HUD, USDA, VA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac extend foreclosure moratorium: HUD has extended the foreclosure moratorium for FHA loans through March 31, 2021. The moratorium prohibits lenders from filing foreclosure actions or moving foreclosures forward that have already been filed. The USDA and the VA have taken similar steps to extend their moratoria through March 31,. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have extended their foreclosure moratoria through February 28, 2021. The moratoria do not apply to properties that are vacant or abandoned.
No foreclosure moratorium on mortgages that are not “federally-backed” or non-mortgage foreclosures: Homeowners whose mortgages are not “federally-backed” or who owe condominium fees, real estate taxes, or other real estate related taxes are not protected from foreclosure. See our website for more information.
Judicial Branch is scheduling remote hearings in foreclosure cases: Since the week of September 14, the Judicial Branch has been scheduling hearings in foreclosure cases where an execution has been requested, a hearing or status conference if necessary, and, in some circumstances, where the foreclosure has not proceeded as quickly as the court would like. If a hearing has been scheduled, the homeowner is supposed to receive notice from court staff providing instructions on how to participate in a remote hearing either by video or phone. On December 17, 2020, the Center sent the Judicial Branch a letter reporting that self-represented parties in some larger judicial districts were being provided with only a few days’ notice by regular mail – for instance, being mailed a letter on Friday of a Monday morning hearing. The Judicial Branch recently reported that self-represented parties should now be receiving two weeks’ notice of any remote hearing.
Affidavit required for foreclosure filings: On September 24, the Judicial Branch issued a Standing Order that prohibits any foreclosure action from being filed or moving forward unless the bank or mortgage company files an affidavit stating that the loan is not a federally backed mortgage, is vacant, or is not in forbearance. If the affidavit is not filed with the Court, then the case may be dismissed.
What should homeowners do?
Foreclosure advice: The Center is holding Foreclosure Advice Virtual Sessions. Homeowners facing foreclosure can sign up for advice sessions over video or phone, and get some individualized questions answered in a way that they could at our in-person clinics or through the Judicial Branch’s Volunteer Attorney Program that we regularly staff during non-pandemic times. The program has been used by dozens of homeowners from across the state since it began last summer. Homeowners can sign up, answer a few short questions, and be set up with an appointment. These Sessions are in addition to the considerable number of videos and materials available at www.ctfairhousing.org.
T-MAP program is shut down: The T-MAP program is no longer accepting applications.
Utilities must continue to offer payment plans to customers: Utilities must now extend the availability of the 24-month COVID-19 payment plans until February 9, 2021. Any customer can call their utility company to set up a payment arrangement. COVID-19 payment plans are:
Importantly, any customer enrolled in a COVID-19 Payment Plan who is current with their payment terms cannot be disconnected even after the shut-off moratoriums have concluded.
- Center staff continue to participate in Facebook Live, community Zoom meetings, and tele-townhalls with legislative officials. If you would like our assistance reaching your constituency, please contact our outreach coordinator email@example.com.
- Staff continue to hold fair housing trainings and COVID-19 eviction and foreclosure prevention resource workshops via Zoom with social service agencies, direct service providers, community groups, and invested stakeholders. If your agency would find a short resource webinar or fair housing training helpful during this crisis please contact Rashida Rattray, the Center’s Education and Outreach Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Resources for tenants and homeowners:
More COVID-19 resources can be found on our website.
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