CRITICAL REDUCTIONS TO TENANT PROTECTIONS EFFECTIVE AS OF NOVEMBER 3, 2020: WHAT TENANTS NEED TO KNOW NOW
A. Old CDC Protections
On September 3, 2020, in response to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's ("CDC") issuance of its Order entitled The Temporary Halt of Evictions to Prevent the Further Spread of COVID 19, the District Court issued Administrative Order 2020-06 addressing the process for pending and new non-payment eviction matters. That Order from the District Court stated, in substance, that tenants could halt non-payment eviction cases by signing the CDC's form Declaration (and providing it to their landlord or the landlord's attorney). If a tenant presented a Declaration prior to the start of a non-payment eviction case, the Declaration prohibited even the filing of a non-payment case against that tenant. On November 3, 2020, the District Court amended Administrative Order 2020-06 (with Administrative Order 2020-07). Key changes are summarized below.
B. Reduced Protections Effective November 3, 2020
Effective November 3, 2020, new eviction filings for non-payment of rent in which a CDC Declaration is submitted may be heard in the normal course on a date to be provided by the Clerk's Office. This means the case can be filed and will go forward even if the tenant submits a Declaration. So -- even if a CDC Declaration has been submitted -- tenants must show up for court dates or a default judgment may be entered against the tenant.
While judgments may enter, no judgment will be enforceable until the expiration of the CDC Order or until further Order of the Court. Similarly, Motions to Enforce Judgment will not be heard by the Court on any non-payment of rent case in which a Declaration has been filed, until the CDC Order expires or until further Order of the Court.
The Amended Order does not appear to impact non-payment cases that were filed before November 3, 2020. So if a tenant's non-payment case has already been scheduled for early next year because the tenant submitted a Declaration, it will be heard on that date (not earlier). If tenants are not sure whether their cases are going forward or not, call the District Court clerk's office to inquire.
Administrative Order 2020-07 can be found HERE and should be referenced for a full understanding of its contents.
If you feel you qualify for protection, you will need to fill out the declaration and give it to your landlord (or their attorney) in order to receive the available protection