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CDC Eviction Order Information

New COVID Relief Law Extends CDC Eviction Protection to January 31, 2021 And Provides Additional Rental Assistance

December 29, 2020

Rhode Island tenants facing eviction due to non-payment of rent may qualify for additional protection under the COVID relief bill passed by Congress last week and signed into law by the president on December 27, 2020. The law, among other things, extends the Centers for Disease Control's ("CDC") eviction protection to January 31, 2021. Previous protection was set to expire at the end of December 2020. Additional information regarding the extended moratorium can be found below.

  • WHO CAN APPLY - The extended moratorium does not change the initial eligibility criteria laid out by the CDC. Therefore, any tenant who can truthfully state that they:
    • Meet the CDC's financial guidelines;
    • Have suffered a loss of income, decrease in work hours or increase in medical bills or expenses (which does not have to be COVID related);
    • Have been unable to make some or all rental payments despite making best efforts, and;
    • Are at risk of becoming homeless if evicted can submit a signed declaration to their landlord to delay the eviction.
  • WHO CANNOT APPLY - The extended protection does not apply to tenants being evicted for other reasons, including termination of tenancy or non-compliance issues.
  • HOW IT WORKS - When the CDC Order was first issued, the Rhode Island District Court treated it as a "pause" button on eviction proceedings. However, the court has since modified its response and treated it as a postponement of eviction (i.e. forced move outs only), and not of the related legal process. This means that any tenant who seeks protection from the extended CDC order is still expected to appear in court if they receive instructions to do so. Failing to appear will result in a default judgment, which is a judgment against the party that failed to appear.
  • WHAT ABOUT RENTAL PAYMENTS? - The extended protection, like the last CDC order, does not exempt a tenant from their duty to pay rent. Any tenant who submits a CDC declaration to their landlord is still expected to pay rent, and to try to make partial payments if they cannot make the full payment.
  • ADDITIONAL RENTAL ASSISTANCE - The new COVID relief law does include additional money to help Rhode Island tenants pay back rent, and extends the deadlines for allocating the relief money Rhode Island has already received. Tenants who are seeking rental assistance should continue to contact the United Way Safe Harbor fund at 2-1-1, or contact RILS for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding The CDC Order

Additional Housing Help & Resources

  • If you are facing a short-term housing crisis, click HERE to learn about the HomeSafe Initiative
  • If you are facing eviction and behind on your rent as a result of the COVID-19 health crisis, click HERE to learn about the United Way's Safe Harbor Housing Program.

(This summary is intended to focus only on key housing-related aspects of the new law. It does not cover all benefits and protections of the new law. While this summary is intended to be informational, the relevant documents should be reviewed for actual terms. And receipt of this information does not create an attorney-client relationship. )