Putting a Moratorium on Evictions and Utility Shut-offs During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Post Authored By: Kenny Matuszeski and Michael Beltran

As the novel coronavirus continues to affect citizens’ health, careers, and housing security, citizens may rely on several forms of relief to prevent eviction or foreclosure on their mortgages. First, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) issued an order, effective September 4, 2021, temporarily halting residential evictions of tenants, lessees, and residents of residential properties.[1] In order to receive this relief, citizens must meet certain eligibility requirements and complete a declaration stating that they meet these requirements.[2] However, citizens must still pay rent and abide by the rules of their lease or tenancy.[3] The CDC evictions moratorium does not prevent foreclosures on a home mortgage and will remain in effect until January 31, 2021.[4]

Second the Federal Housing Administration (“FHA”) has issued a “foreclosure and eviction moratorium for single family FHA-insured mortgages” through February 28, 2021.[5] It also extended the deadline to request an initial COVID-19 forbearance to either defer or reduce mortgage payments for single family borrowers with FHA-insured mortgages until February 28, 2021.[6] This forbearance applies for up to 6 months and can be extended an additional 6 months.[7]

Third, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (“FHFA”) extended its moratorium on foreclosures and evictions for borrowers with mortgages backed by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae until at least January 31, 2021.[8] However, the FHFA moratorium only applies to enterprise-backed, single-family mortgage and real estate owned evictions, which are properties acquired by enterprises through foreclosure or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure transactions.[9]

States have also issued moratoriums on evictions, and many will last longer than the federal relief described above. In addition to providing moratoriums on evictions, several states have also issued moratoriums on utility shut-offs due to nonpayment. A chart showing the states offering evictions moratoriums, utility shut-off moratoriums, or both, is found below.[10] 

StateIs an Evictions Moratorium in force?Is a Utility Shut-off Moratorium in force?
CaliforniaYes, until February 1, 2021Yes, until April 16, 2021
ConnecticutYes, until February 9, 2021No, but the statutory Winter Protection Plan prevents utility shut-off due to financial hardship.
DelawareYes, until February 9, 2021No
District of ColumbiaYes, until March 31, 2021Yes, until March 31, 2021
HawaiiYes, until February 14, 2021No
IllinoisYes, until February 6, 2021Yes, until March 31, 2021. But citizens must call the utility companies and verbalize financial hardship.
KansasYes, until January 26, 2021Partial. Utility companies are required to offer repayment plans.
MarylandYes, up to 30 days after the end of the state of emergency.No
MinnesotaYes, until January 13, 2021Partial. State-regulated utilities must give consumers protection during the pandemic.
NevadaYes, until March 31, 2021No
New JerseyYes, until the end of the state of emergency and an additional 2 months.Yes, until March 15, 2021
New YorkYes, until May 1, 2021Yes
North CarolinaYes, until January 31, 2021No
OregonYes, until June 30, 2021No
VermontFebruary 14, 2021No
VirginiaNoYes, until at least 60 days after the end of a state of emergency ends.
WashingtonYes, until March 31, 2021Yes, until April 30, 2021
WisconsinNoYes, until April 15, 2021

Any changes or updates in relief offered to renters and mortgage borrowers at both the state and federal level will be noted in the upcoming months. 

[1] Protections for renters, Consumer Fin. Protection Bureau (Nov. 2, 2020), https://www.consumerfinance.gov/coronavirus/mortgage-and-housing-assistance/renter-protections/.

[2] Id.

[3] Id.

[4] Id.

[5] Press Release, Dep’t of Housing and Urban Dev., FHA Extends Options Available for Single Family Borrowers Financially Impacted by COVID-19 (Dec. 21, 2020) (on file with author), https://www.hud.gov/press/press_releases_media_advisories/HUD_No_20_214.

[6] Id.

[7] Id.

[8] News Release, Fed. Housing Fin. Agency, FHFA Extends Foreclosure and REO Eviction Moratoriums (Dec. 2, 2020) (on file with author), https://www.fhfa.gov/Media/PublicAffairs/Pages/FHFA-Extends-Foreclosure-and-REO-Eviction-Moratoriums-12022020.aspx.

[9] Id.

[10] See Ann O’Connell, Emergency Bans on Evictions and Other Tenant Protections Related to Coronavirus, Nolo (Jan. 5, 2021), https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/emergency-bans-on-evictions-and-other-tenant-protections-related-to-coronavirus.html.

About the Authors:

Kenneth “Kenny” Matuszewski, CIPP/US is a registered Patent Attorney who provides advice about utility patents, design patents, data privacy, and cybersecurity. He also has extensive experience litigating software, electrical and mechanical patents in federal court and the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. Representative technologies he has worked with include electronic games, blockchain, cancer treatments, drones, SIM cards, microphones, electronic banking, and gene therapies. 

A firm believer that learning is a lifelong process, Kenny graduated with a B.S. in Computer Science from Oregon State University in 2019. Previously, he double-majored in Biological Sciences and Spanish at the University of Notre Dame and earned his J.D. at Chicago-Kent College of Law. He also received the YLS’ Rising Star Award for Leaders with Exceptional Promise in 2019, the 2020 David C. Hilliard Award for Outstanding Committee Service, and the 2020 Impact Award for a Leader with Substantial Impact on the Section. 

Michael Beltran is a member of the Florida House of Representatives, representing District 57. He graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in 2005, and later graduated from Harvard Law School with a J.D. in 2008 and moved to Florida in 2010. In addition to serving in the House of Representatives, Michael has been a litigator for more than a decade. A former undefeated light heavyweight wrestler from Brooklyn, Michael has worked for several of the world’s largest law firms and served as a Judicial Law Clerk for the Hon. Steven D. Merryday in the Middle District of Florida.

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