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New relief for renters

Deadlines and expiration dates for relief may be out of date. For more information visit our help for renters webpage.

On December 27, 2020, two types of relief for renters were signed into law:

  1. $25 billion for emergency rental assistance . The funds will be distributed by the U.S. Department of Treasury to states and local governments in 2021.
  2. An extension of the CDC’s eviction moratorium until January 31, 2021. This means the protections last beyond the CDC’s original expiration date of December 31, 2020.

Keep reading to learn more details about this relief.

How to avoid eviction if you can’t pay your rent

If you are not able to pay your rent, you must take three steps to protect yourself from eviction:

  1. Check this CDC declaration form to see if you’re eligible. You need to meet all of the conditions listed in the form. Download translations here .
  2. If you meet all of the eligibility requirements, sign and date the Declaration. This declaration is sworn testimony, so only sign it if you meet all seven criteria.
  3. Give a signed and dated copy of the Declaration to your landlord. You can also do this electronically, by email or text.

Even if you take all three steps, know that:

  • If you are able to pay some or all of your rent, you must do so.
  • Your landlord or Public Housing Authority (PHA) can still charge late fees, penalties, and other fees for unpaid rent.

The law extends the CDC order. If you haven’t submitted a declaration form, you still can. If you have already submitted a declaration form, you do not need to resubmit it to your landlord.

Exceptions to the CDC Order

The CDC order does not stop evictions in every situation.

You are still required to follow all the other terms of your lease and rules of where you live. Tenants can still be evicted for criminal acts or lease violations.

Your state, territory, tribal, or local government may offer the same or greater eviction protections. Visit LegalFAQ.org to find out if your state or local government offers protections from eviction.

For more detail, read the CDC’s Frequently Asked Questions about this temporary halt in evictions .

How to get help with rent and utility costs

The new law provides for $25 billion in emergency rental assistance. But that money won’t be available right away.

In general, funds will be paid directly to landlords and utility service providers. If a landlord does not wish to participate, funds may be paid directly to the eligible household. These funds must be used for direct financial assistance, including rent, rent that is past due, utilities and home energy costs, utilities and home energy costs that are past due, and other expenses related to housing.

Households and landlords should not submit applications for assistance to the Department of Treasury. The Department of Treasury is working with state and local governments to distribute these funds. More information is available on the Emergency Rental Assistance Program website.

To find more information about options and protections for renters, visit our help for renters page or Treasury’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program .

If you need help now, here are some options

There are other funds or programs you may be able to access if you need help right now.

Your state, county, or city may have funds or programs to help.

To find state or local assistance, visit LegalFAQ.org .

If you live in federally subsidized housing and your income has changed, ask for “income recertification.”

If your income has changed, you can ask your property management or housing authority for an “income recertification” to see if you qualify for lower rent or rent forgiveness. Do this as soon as possible because any change in rent could reduce your back rent.

You may also qualify for a financial hardship exemption.

If you are worried about meeting face-to-face during the pandemic, you can certify your income electronically, such as by email, text, or fax, as long as you give property managers your original signature later.

Find more information on our Coronavirus page.

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