COVID Update for Landlords: Eviction Moratoria

The State of Affairs Since October
As a landlord, you know that expecting and requiring payment on time is not done out of spite or greed. It is a matter of business and, indeed, of making sure that your own family can keep a roof over their heads. After all, you may have your own mortgage to pay, and banks are not as forgiving to their creditors as you are with your tenants.

The Massachusetts Moratorium on Evictions and Foreclosures During the COVID-19 Emergency expired on October 17, 2020. In the time since the moratorium expired, what has changed, what is now permitted, and what is still forbidden?

The CDC Moratorium
The Massachusetts moratorium on evictions had postponed evictions of both residential and commercial tenants for nonpayment, as well as postponing the start of foreclosure proceedings, to the end of the moratorium period.

The CDC, however, has issued a moratorium on residential evictions that applies to all states where such a moratorium is not in effect, or where the existing moratorium is not as comprehensive. As such, because of the federal moratorium, residential evictions for non-payment may not go forward until the end of January 2021.

It is still permissible to begin eviction proceedings against tenants for reasons other than nonpayment of rent, such as operating a criminal enterprise out of the property or causing significant damage.

What Happens When the Federal Moratorium Ends?
The federal moratorium does not cancel back rent, however. Unpaid rent is due upon the end of the moratorium, otherwise eviction proceedings may begin.

However, in Massachusetts, commercial tenants may now be evicted for non-payment of rent.
Note, however, that it is widely believed that the incoming Biden administration will extend the federal moratorium until later in 2021. Let us hope that the incoming Administration’s plans also include relief for residential landlords.

If you are unsure as to whether you can evict a tenant under the existing federal moratorium, our office is prepared to provide you with answers and next steps.


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