September 3, 2020
CDC issues moratorium on evictions until December 31, 2020: The Center for Disease Control (CDC), a federal agency charged with protecting the public health, has announced that it has placed a moratorium on evictions throughout the United States for nonpayment of rent beginning on September 4 and continuing until December 31, 2020. The moratorium applies only to tenants who are being evicted for nonpayment of rent AND who present a signed declaration form to their landlord. The form must state that the tenant 1) expects to make less than $99,000 in income for 2020 ($198,000 if filing a joint return); 2) is unable to pay full rent due to an income loss or extraordinary medical bills; 3) has used best efforts to obtain governmental rent assistance; 4) is likely to become homeless or forced to “live in close quarters” in another residence if evicted; and 5) promises to make timely partial payments that are as close to the full payment as the individual’s circumstances may permit.
The Center is in the process of putting the form tenants must use up on its website and mailing it to any tenant who calls the Center. Please check our website for updated information as we learn more about the moratorium. For answers to some preliminary questions about the CDC’s eviction moratorium, click here.
To find a copy of the declarations all adults in a household must fill out and give to the landlord, click here. To create a declaration in Spanish, access this page and click the translation button in the top right corner. In addition, there are on-line forms that can be found here and here that can generate a declaration that notifies a landlord the tenant and all adult household members are covered by the CDC eviction moratorium.
Connecticut Judicial Branch allows executions to be used for some summary process cases: On September 3, 2020, Connecticut’s Judicial Branch announced that beginning on September 3, it would permit landlords to use executions to move out some tenants who lost their summary process cases on or before March 19, 2020. Executions can be used in eviction cases that were resolved before March 19, 2020 on the basis of serious nuisance, nonpayment of rent that was owed before February 29, 2020, or where the landlord has a bona fide intent to use the dwelling as their primary residence.
However, the Judicial Department also states, “No action taken pursuant to this order shall be in violation of the moratoria contained in the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, the ‘Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions to Prevent the Further Spread of COVID-19’ order issued by the Centers for Disease Control on September 1, 2020, or other applicable federal law, order, rule or regulation.” Check the Center’s website for more information as this order is further analyzed.
TRHAP program closed for new applications: On Friday, August 28, the State’s Temporary Rental Housing Assistance Program (TRHAP) closed its call center and stopped taking on-line applications until Monday, September 14 at 8 a.m. During that time, the Department of Housing will continue to refer tenants who have completed the pre-application for assistance to housing counseling agencies to complete the application process. If you are unsure if you have completed a pre-application, you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your name and address in the mail and the approximate date you made the application for TRHAP. It may take as long as a week to get information back from the Department of Housing.
Apply for T-MAP on-line: CFHA’s Temporary Mortgage Assistance Program to assist homeowners who are unable to pay their mortgage, the Temporary Mortgage Assistance Program, 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.
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 will expand if there’s enough demand from homeowners and capacity for us. Homeowners can sign up, answer a few short questions, and be set up with an appointment.
What happened since August 28, 2020:
- Evictions likely to spread virus: Tenants evicted as the result of the COVID-19 economic crisis will likely double up with friends or family to avoid living on the street. As a result, eviction could be a super spreader event as displaced families crowd into shelters or risk their health at unsafe jobs to pay for rent or moving expenses. In addition to a nationwide eviction stoppage, experts estimate that the U.S. needs between $7 and $12 billion a month to help workers who rent to remain safe and secure in their homes.
- Eviction ban alone won’t solve crisis: Housing advocates and housing providers are applauding the CDC’s actions in halting evictions but say a moratorium is not enough. The eviction moratorium will harm landlords in the short run because there is no rental assistance that accompanies the order. As a result, housing providers especially small landlords, will be unable to pay for repairs, real estate taxes, and other housing operating costs. In the long run, tenants unable to pay the rent at the end of the moratorium will face the loss of their homes after December during some of the coldest months of year. Rental assistance is needed to avoid this catastrophe.
- New Haven to assist households on verge of eviction or foreclosure: Because city officials estimate that between 8,00 and 10,000 families in New Haven could be subject to eviction or foreclosure, it has created an assistance program to assist 300 renters and homeowners using $800,000 of its CARES Act funding. Families will be eligible for payments of up to $3,000 for renters and $4,000 for homeowners. The funding can be used as a standalone program or in conjunction with the TRHAP and TMAP programs to pay back rent or mortgage payments There is more information on the program on the City of New Haven’s website or by calling 203-946-7090.
- State rental assistance program is likely out of funds: According to the most recent information released by the Department of Housing, at least 5,800 people had qualified for help and until the program shut down intake, was receiving at least another 200 calls for help a day. This will likely deplete the $20 million set aside to assist tenants who cannot pay their rent due to the economic crisis caused by COVID-19. The State has not said it will add any additional funds to the program despite knowing that the $20 million will not help everyone who needs it.
- Connecticut reserves approach $3.1 billion: The State’s reserve fund, also known as the rainy day fund, has exceeded the legal limit for contributions for the first time in 19 years. It now stands at $3.1 billion. This will allow the state to cover the projected FY2021 budget deficit and still leave nearly $1 billion in the bank. Key lawmakers are calling on the state to spend some of the reserve to combat the effects of the coronavirus.
- Majority of Hartford families will keep their kids home this fall: The majority of Hartford families will keep their school age children home this fall and have instead chosen online learning. This is a sharp difference from nearly urban school districts but which many parents feel they must make because of the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color.
- People of color underrepresented in COVID-19 vaccine trials: Despite being some of the hardest hit communities in the country, people of color are underrepresented in vaccine trials for COVID-19. Of the 350,000 people who have registered online for a coronavirus clinical trial, only 10% are Black or Latino. This could result in vaccines that are not effective for all people.
- Federal foreclosure moratorium and evictions extended to December 31: The Federal Home Finance Authority announced that it will extend the moratorium on single-family foreclosures and evictions from Real Estate Owned (REO) properties through December 31, 2020. The foreclosure moratorium applies to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac single-family mortgages only. The REO eviction moratorium applies to properties that have been acquired by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac through foreclosure or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure transactions. The current moratoriums were set to expire on August 31, 2020.
- FHA delinquency rate now the highest ever recorded: The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact homeowner’s ability to make their mortgage payments. According to Black Knight, FHA delinquency rates are now at 15.65%, the highest ever recorded since the survey of delinquencies began in 1979. Overall, the number of seriously delinquent mortgages, meaning payments overdue by 90 days or more, rose to the highest rate since early 2010. While the CARES Act forbids forbearances to be reported to credit bureaus as late payments, the mortgage industry still tallies the suspended payments as delinquencies.
- Residential utility shut-off moratorium: On September 9, 2020 the residential utility shut-off moratorium will end for non-hardship customers. Non-hardship customers are those utility customers who have no financial hardship but have been protected from shut off during the pandemic. On October 31, the residential utility shut-off moratorium will end for hardship customers. If you are unable to pay for your utilities, contact your gas or electric company to get coded as “financial hardship” customers so that you can be protected from upcoming shut-offs after the end of the moratorium. Contact the utilities directly, call 2-1-1 for more information or contact local community action agencies for help.
- Energy assistance: Community action agencies began accepting energy assistance applications on August 3. Anyone seeking to apply for energy assistance should contact their local community action agency, as much of the paperwork will be done by mail, with few in-person appointments this year. DSS also has an on-line energy assistance application this year, but it must be downloaded and sent to the local community action agency with other qualifying information
- Eviction Lab publishes Connecticut data: The Eviction Lab, begun by sociologist Matthew Desmond, has begun publishing data gathered by the Connecticut Fair Housing Center on the number of new summary process actions filed every day. With the number of new filings expected to go up after the moratorium ends, Connecticut will be facing an eviction crisis which will be tracked in real time.
What we are hearing from our clients:
- Tenants who lost their jobs in 2020 may not qualify for the TRHAP program because they earned too much in 2019
- Many tenants hospitalized with COVID-19 fear being unable to return home when released from the hospital because they have been unable to pay the rent
- The TRHAP program does not have a TTY line making it difficult for people who are deaf or hard of hearing to apply for benefits.
- Tenants continue to seek assistance on how to pay their rent when they have lost their income due to COVID-19
- Tenants are being threatened with termination of their lease in response to extended eviction moratorium
- Landlords are raising rents in response to housing shortage cause by inflow of new residents into Connecticut
- Landlords are harassing tenants for rent
- Tenants are being denied housing based on how many children they have
- Tenants using housing subsidies to pay their rent continue to face source of income discrimination
- Public Official Outreach: 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
- 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:
- Click here to understand current tenant rent relief options in Spanish and English.
- Click here to find more details in our tenant FAQ.
- Click here to understand current rights for homeowners in Spanish and English.
- Click 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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