Does COVID-19 Prevent Me from Evicting My Tenants?

Does COVID-19 Prevent Me from Evicting My Tenants?

There has been a lot of confusing information circulating related to the Coronavirus and the restrictions put in place by local, state, and federal governments.  Landlords have been in a particularly difficult position with many tenants not being able to make their monthly rent payments because of the effects of COVID-19. 

Both the federal government and Utah Governor Gary Herbert have placed certain restrictions and limitations on a landlord’s ability to evict tenants for failing to pay rent.  It is important to understand what these restrictions are, what they mean for landlords and tenants, and how long they will last. 

Federal Eviction Restrictions:

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress to protect tenants from evictions due to failure to pay rent in “covered properties.” Tenants who live in a property covered by the CARES Act cannot be:

  • Evicted for nonpayment of rent.
  • Charged late fees, penalties or other charges related to nonpayment of rent.

Properties that are covered by the CARES Act include:

  • Public Housing
  • Federally funded housing, including section 8 vouchers, project-based section 8 housing, HOPWA vouchers and other federally backed housing programs.
  • Low-Income Housing Tax Credit properties.
  • Properties with a federally backed mortgage. 

These restrictions are in place for a limited 120-day period spanning from March 27, 2020 to July 25, 2020.  After July 25, 2020, the federal restrictions on evictions will expire; however, they may be extended.  Please contact Hepworth & Associates to help you know what the status of these federal restrictions. 

Utah Eviction Restrictions:

Governor Gary Herbert signed an Executive Order that temporarily suspend a landlord from evicting “qualified tenants.”  The suspension in evictions only applies for cases where the tenant has failed to pay rent.  A qualified tenant is someone who:

  • Is a residential tenant (the Governor’s Order did not suspend commercial evictions).
  • The tenant was current on the rent as of March 31, 2020.
  • The tenant has experienced a job loss or loss of income due to COVID-19
  • Then tenant has either tested positive for COVID-19 or has been ordered to self-quarantine by a local or state health department.

This Order was in place from April 1, 2020 to May 15, 2020.  At this time, the Governor has not extended the Order, and all state restrictions on evictions have been removed.  This may change later, and future state restrictions are still a possibility.

Please contact Hepworth & Associates to help navigate the eviction process during this confusing time.

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