About the CDC Order on Eviction and AZ's Executive Order on Eviction
Both Arizona and the U.S. government have instituted protections to halt evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. In Arizona, an eviction action may still be filed in the court but the enforcement of the eviction may be delayed. In September, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an order to temporarily halt residential evictions to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. 

CDC Order: "Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions to Prevent the Further Spread of COVID-19"
The Director of the CDC signed a declaration stating that evictions of tenants could be detrimental to public health. To qualify for the Order, tenants (each adult on the lease) must submit a signed declaration to their landlord or property owner that states: 
  • I have used best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing;
This means that the tenant has applied for government rent assistance or housing programs. To apply for rental assistance: https://housing.az.gov/general-public/rental-assistance-resources-eviction-prevention 
  • I either expect to earn no more than $99,000 in annual income for Calendar Year 2020 (or no more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return), was not required to report any income in 2019 to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, or received an Economic Impact Payment (stimulus check) pursuant to Section 2201 of the CARES Act;
This means that the tenant expects to not earn more than $99,000 (or $198,000 if filing a joint tax return) in 2020 or was not required to report income in 2019 or received a stimulus check from the CARES Act. Find the status of your stimulus payment here: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment 
  • I am unable to pay my full rent or make a full housing payment due to substantial loss of household income, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, layoffs, or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses;
This means that the tenant is unable to make full rent payments because of a job loss or layoff, reduced work hours, reduced pay, significant loss of income for the household, or extraordinary medical expenses not reimbursed by insurance or other means. 
  • I am using best efforts to make timely partial payments that are as close to the full payment as the individual’s circumstances may permit, taking into account other nondiscretionary expenses;
This means that the tenant is trying to make their rent payments, including making partial payments that are as close to the full rent as can be made, when taking into account other expenses the tenant might have.
  • If evicted I would likely become homeless, need to move into a homeless shelter, or need to move into a new residence shared by other people who live in close quarters because I have no other available housing options.
This means that if an eviction happened right now, the tenant would have to move into a homeless shelter or someplace with other people in close quarters.
  • I understand that I must still pay rent or make a housing payment, and comply with other obligations that I may have under my tenancy, lease agreement, or similar contract. I further understand that fees, penalties, or interest for not payment rent or making a housing payment on time as required by my tenancy, lease agreement, or similar contract may still be charged or collected.
This means that the tenant is still responsible for everything required by the lease agreement. Late fees, penalties, and interest on past due rent or not making rent on time - as required by the lease - are still allowed.
  • I further understand that at the end of this temporary halt on evictions on December 31, 2020, my housing provider may require payment in full for all payments not made prior to and during the temporary halt and failure to pay may make me subject to eviction pursuant to State and local laws.
This means that the tenant will owe all of the past due and current rent amounts plus any fees, penalties, and interest after the CDC order expires on December 31, 2020. Eviction for nonpayment of rent may resume after the CDC order expires.  

The Centers for Disease Control have made sample declaration forms available here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/covid-eviction-declaration.html. To be protected by the CDC Order, tenants must sign the declaration form and provide a copy to their landlord or property manager and documenting the date, time, and how the copy was delivered (email, mail, hand delivered).

Evictions for other lease violations are not covered by the CDC Order.

Arizona Delayed Enforcement of Eviction Actions

On March 24, 2020 Arizona Governor Ducey issued Executive Order 2020-14 to delay evictions for renters impacted by COVID-19.  The Executive Order was extended, with certain conditions, by Executive Order 2020-49 by Governor Ducey on July 16, 2020.

The Executive Order does not stop eviction actions. The Executive Order delays enforcement of eviction actions. This means that a landlord can still go to court to evict a tenant and a court can still grant an eviction order but law enforcement officers, such as a sheriff’s office or constable, must temporarily delay the enforcement of the eviction order from the court if the tenant notifies their landlord of any of the following:

a. The individual is required to be quarantined based on their diagnosis of COVID-19.
b. The individual is ordered by a licensed medical professional to self-quarantine based on their demonstration of symptoms as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
c. The individual is required to be quarantined based on someone in the home being diagnosed with COVID-19.
d. The individual demonstrates that they have a health condition, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that makes them more at risk for COVID-19 than the average person.
e. The individual suffered a substantial loss of income resulting from COVID-19, including:
  • Job loss;
  • Reduction in compensation;
  • Closure of place of employment;
  • Obligation to be absent from work to care for a home-bound school-age child; or
  • Other pertinent circumstances
Per Executive Order 2020-49:
After August 21, 2020, a tenant, lessee or resident is entitled to the delay in the enforcement of a writ of restitution for residential premises outlined above provided they demonstrate the following:
  • They have notified the landlord or property owner in writing with supporting documentation of their ongoing financial hardship as outlined in paragraph 1 as a result of COVID-19 and request for a payment plan; and
  • They have provided the landlord or property owner a copy, with any available supporting documentation, of proof of submission of their completed pending application for rental assistance through a state, city, county or nonprofit program.
For information about available rental assistance programs, visit: https://housing.az.gov/general-public/eviction-prevention-assistance

For a sample payment plan agreement, visit: https://clsaz.org/covid-19/

For more information about Governor Ducey's Executive Order on eviction action and guidance issued for landlords and renters, see:
https://azgovernor.gov/sites/default/files/executive_order_2020-49-_what_you_need_to_know_1.pdf.

CARES Act – Eviction Filings & Fees
* EXPIRED JULY 25, 2020 *
On March 27, 2020 Congress passed and the President signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Stability (CARES) Act. Among the many provisions, the Act provided moratorium on eviction filings for properties financed by certain federal loan programs, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The CARES Act went into effect immediately and expired July 25, 2020. The CARES Act stated:

§ 4024. Temporary moratorium on eviction filings.
. . .
(b) MORATORIUM.—During the 120-day period beginning on the date of enactment of
this Act, the lessor of a covered dwelling may not—
(1) make, or cause to be made, any filing with the court of jurisdiction to initiate
a legal action to recover possession of the covered dwelling from the
tenant for nonpayment of rent or other fees or charges; or
(2) charge fees, penalties, or other charges to the tenant related to such
nonpayment of rent.

This meant that if the rental property is financed with a federally backed mortgage, the CARES Act stated that legal action for eviction because of non-payment of rent may not be filed. In addition, the tenant may not be charged late fees, penalties or other charges related to the non-payment of rent. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has offered guidance on the application of this Act, making clear that actions were not be filed under the Act regardless of whether the tenant was directly affected by COVID or not.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, federal mortgage companies, offer websites that allow tenants and the public to search records and discover if a specific property is covered by their financing. To search whether a rental property is federally financed and subject to the CARES Act protections, visit: https://www.knowyouroptions.com/rentersresourcefinder with Fannie Mae and https://myhome.freddiemac.com/renting/lookup.html with Freddie Mac. The Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac search tools do not include all the federal financing covered by the CARES Act.

If a tenant received notice of eviction action between March 27, 2020 and July 25, 2020, and the rental unit was protected under the CARES Act, contact one of Arizona's legal aid programs for help.
Image
Image

Many thanks to Community Legal Services and David J. Newstone for their help.