October 15, 2020
Connecticut Eviction Moratorium Extended through December 31, 2020: Governor Lamont issued Executive Order 9E extending the Connecticut eviction moratorium for some tenants.
- What Executive Order 9E does:
- Prohibits the service of a Notice to Quit or a Summary Process complaint through December 31 for some tenants;
- Requires landlords to serve a CDC declaration in both English and Spanish with any Notice to Quit permitted by EO 9E;
- Mandates that once a landlord or a landlord’s attorney receives a CDC declaration, the landlord must immediately cease all action to evict through December 31;
- Requires that any notice to quit or summary process complaint for a rent arrearage equal to or greater than six months’ worth of rent due on or after March 1, 2020 must state the amount of the rent arrearage, the months for which rent was unpaid, and the amount unpaid for each of those months;
- What Executive Order 9E does NOT do:
- It does not prohibit the service of a notice to quit or summary process complaint if the tenant a) owes rent that was due on or before February 29, 2020; b) owes six or more months of rent that was due on or after March 1, 2020; c) has created a serious nuisance; or c) has a lease that expired and the landlord wants to use the unit as their primary residence;
- It does not stop the courts from holding court proceedings or issuing judgments in cases where the landlord has not received a CDC declaration and the case was either filed before the Connecticut moratorium began, or qualifies as an exception under the Connecticut moratorium, and
- It does not stop the courts from issuing executions in cases where the landlord has not received a CDC declaration.
What should landlords do?
If a landlord or a landlord’s attorney receives a CDC declaration, EO 9E requires that they immediately cease all action to evict through December 31.
What should tenants do?
Tenants may not be covered by the Connecticut moratorium for various reasons, including that (1) they owe rent that was due on or before February 29, 2020, (2) they owe six or more months of rent due on or after March 1, 2020, and (3) they have a lease that expired and the landlord wants to use the unit as their primary residence. If these tenants cannot pay their full rent or other housing payments because their household lost income or has very expensive out-of-pocket medical bills, they may still qualify for the CDC moratorium. However, the CDC moratorium’s protection is NOT automatic.
Tenants should begin by carefully reading the requirements a tenant must meet to qualify for the CDC moratorium. If every person over 18 in the household meets the qualifications, then each of those people should fill out a CDC declaration and give each declaration to the landlord. Information about the declaration and how to create one are also available in Spanish. In addition, there are on-line forms that can be found here and here that can generate the CDC declaration. A summary of both the Connecticut and CDC moratoriums is available here.
If a tenant receives notice that their landlord has requested the issuance of an execution and a remote hearing has been scheduled, tenants must attend the remote hearing either by video or phone, even if they have already given their landlord a CDC declaration. The notice to the tenant about the request for the execution should also include an email address where the tenant can get answers to questions regarding remote hearings.
If a tenant has not filed an Appearance or Answer in their eviction case, the tenant should do so immediately. Courts have lifted the suspension on deadlines to file these papers and have begun entering Default Judgments. Learn more about the eviction court process here.
Landlords have filed motions for default in 184 cases since September 14: In addition, motions for default were pending in more than 2,000 cases. “Pending” means no action has been taken on the motion.
Landlords have requested more than 125 executions since September 1: The executions requested beginning on September 1 are in addition to the 725 requests filed since March 1 which are still awaiting hearing. If an execution has been requested by a landlord in a case involving nonpayment, the tenants are supposed to receive notice from court staff which provides instructions on how to participate in a remote hearing about the execution and applicability of the CDC moratorium either by video or phone. Executions in other types of cases are being signed without providing tenants with the opportunity for a hearing.
We have heard the following problems with remote hearings and court access:
- Tenants do not know how to install the “Teams” app used for remote hearings;
- Tenants do not have enough space on their phones to download the Teams app;
- Tenants could not connect with the court through the Teams app;
- Downloading the Teams app takes a very long time, and often the program closes before the full download occurs;
- Tenants who are unable to use the Teams app can only participate in the hearing by phone;
- Tenants who are on the telephone are not able to see what is happening and do not know what to do once they connect;
- Tenants who do not have access to a phone or computer are not given an in-person option, so they are unable to attend.
- Tenants are given only 5 days’ notice of a hearing;
- Some tenants are not receiving mail in a timely manner, so they only receive notice of the hearing after they’ve already missed it;
- Tenants receive notice of the remote hearing, but the notice does not include the date and time of the hearing;
- Hearing notices are not translated for people with LEP;
- Hearing notices tell tenants to call the clerk’s office to receive information about how to participate in a remote hearing, but when tenants call the clerk’s office they hear a recording directing them to call another phone number that is not always answered;
- Tenants who receive notice of the hearing do not understand that they must give the court their email address to receive access to the hearing;
- Hearing notice emails that include the phrase “do not delete” are deleted once the hearing is accepted;
- Judges are not asking court personnel if tenants were ever contacted by the Court regarding notice of the hearing;
- Judges are not determining if the landlord has received a CDC declaration;
- Mediators are not determining if the landlord has received a CDC declaration;
- Tenants who have given their landlord a CDC declaration are challenged by landlords who say the declaration is not true;
- When an attorney for the landlord did not show up, the Court called him and allowed him to join the remote hearing late. No calls made to tenants when they do not appear;
- Some marshals refuse to let lawyers and tenants into courthouses to file documents;
- Some courts fail to provide a means for lawyers and the public to observe hearings.
TRHAP program changes: Governor Lamont announced an additional $20 million would be added to the TRHAP program bringing the total amount for TRHAP to $40 million. DOH states that the program will reopen for new applications in mid-October. In addition, CHFA has assigned 30 staff members to help process the nearly 5,100 pre-applications already received. This brings the total number of staff working on this project to 45. DOH has reduced the paperwork required for tenants to complete an application. When the program reopens, tenants will be able to apply on-line and upload the verifications they need. The goal is to have the tenant go from pre-application to full application within 5 business days. Tenants without internet access will still be able to contact the call center and 211 to put in an application. The on-line application portal will be in English and Spanish.
CT has sixth highest delinquency rate in the country: A new report from CoreLogic shows that Connecticut has the 6th highest delinquency rate in the country with New York and New Jersey ranking first and second.
FHA loans: The number of FHA loans that are delinquent has risen to 24.2% in the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk MSA and to 20.2% in the New Haven-Milford MSA. The Hartford-East Hartford-Middletown MSA is the lowest in Connecticut at a still startlingly 18.2%. If even one-third of all these loans go into foreclosure, this will result in substantial homeownership loss for communities of color.
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 states 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.
Judicial Branch is scheduling 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 is 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.
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. The program began on August 7, with 8 slots weekly and has been used by several homeowners from across the state each of the past few weeks. Homeowners can sign up, answer a few short questions, and be set up with an appointment. These Sessions are in addition to the considerable amount of videos and materials available at www.ctfairhousing.org
Apply for T-MAP on-line: The number of successful applications for the State’s TMAP program remains low. TMAP now has an on-line application in English. It has not yet been translated into Spanish. To apply for assistance by telephone, call 1-860-785-3111. For more information about the program, click here
Helping all Connecticut residents toward recovery: In a published recent op-ed in ctmirror.org, Ashley Blount, an organizer with CancelRentCT, pointed out the unending cycle of implementing an eviction moratorium, nearly waiting for it to expire, and implementing a new moratorium has placed a constant mental and emotional strain on the tens of thousands of folks facing house insecurity, the small landlords who have also been deprived of income, and the individuals and organizations on the ground working to prevent a housing crisis. The pandemic has already exposed all the ways our systems leave Black, brown, low-income, and other marginalized communities behind. Black and brown communities especially have been disproportionately impacted by all coronavirus related issues and the housing crisis is shaping up to be no different. Instead, Connecticut needs to cut the red tape and implement relief on a massive scale.
Connecticut’s cities need help digging out of the pandemic: A new series in the CT Mirror, starts with the premise that Connecticut is one of the most dramatically unequal states in the country. By almost every metric, from employment and housing to health care and life expectancy, the predominantly minority urban poor were getting the short end of the stick. Nearly 20% of Black and 23% of Hispanic residents lived in poverty before the pandemic, compared to 6% of whites, according to a major report by the New Haven-based nonprofit research firm DataHaven. The COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant economic recession made a bad situation worse. Connecticut must help all cities recover and thrive to ensure that the current inequality does not continue.
Short calendar resumes: As of October 13, 2020, the Judicial Branch has resumed its weekly processing of thousands of filings in foreclosure cases each week.
Tenants in Minneapolis bought their multifamily building from their landlord: Tenants living in bad conditions in Minneapolis mounted a campaign that sought repairs and the removal of their landlord’s license to rent. This summer, they bought their buildings from their landlord and are now able to control their homes.
Utility moratorium will end on October 31: Any residential customer having trouble paying their utility bills should contact their utility company and ask whether they are eligible to be “coded hardship.” If the customer is coded hardship, the utility company will not be able to shut off their utilities during the winter months. Special financial assistance programs are available to hardship customers. For more information, see this Operation Fuel website. Second, if a customer is ineligible for hardship status, they should ask to be placed on a COVID-19 Payment Plan. Enrollment for the COVID-19 Payment Program for residential customers is open until November 1, 2020.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resources for tenants and homeowners:
- here for more information on the Connecticut and CDC moratoria.
- here to understand current rights for homeowners in Spanish and English.
- here to understand how fair housing can protect you during the COVID-19 crisis. (Our guidance is now available in 11 languages.)
- The Rent Recalculation Request tool can be accessed here in Spanish and English.
More COVID-19 resources can be found on our websitehere.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR FAIR HOUSING RIGHTS IN ENGLISH, SPANISH, MANDARIN, VIETNAMESE, FARSI, RUSSIAN, ITALIAN, KREYOL, ARABIC, KHMER, AND TAGALOG, CLICK HERE.
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