WASHINGTON, D.C. – Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Acting Director Dave Uejio and Federal Trade Commission Acting Chairwoman Rebecca Slaughter issued a joint statement regarding their agencies’ work to help stop illegal evictions and protect American consumers facing economic hardship due to COVID-19.
CFPB Acting Director Dave Uejio and FTC Acting Chairwoman Rebecca Slaughter:
“Staff at both agencies will be monitoring and investigating eviction practices, particularly by major multistate landlords, eviction management services, and private equity firms, to ensure that they are complying with the law. Evicting tenants in violation of the CDC, state, or local moratoria, or evicting or threatening to evict them without apprising them of their legal rights under such moratoria, may violate prohibitions against deceptive and unfair practices, including under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Federal Trade Commission Act. We will not tolerate illegal practices that displace families and expose them—and by extension all of us—to grave health risks.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a financial crisis that threatens the ability of millions to stay in their homes. Renters and homeowners experiencing pandemic-related unemployment or wage reduction are struggling to make monthly payments. A recent CFPB report found that over 11 million families are behind on their rent or mortgage payments: 2.1 million families are behind at least three months on mortgage payments, while 8.8 million are behind on rent.
Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced an extension of its moratorium on residential evictions to keep people in their homes, out of shelters, and to stop the spread of COVID-19. Renters have struggled to exercise their rights under the CDC’s eviction moratorium, and news reports indicate many renters have been forced out of their homes despite federal protections.
Keeping Consumers Informed of their Rights
The CFPB and FTC are working with CDC to make renters aware of their rights under the eviction moratorium and to help them to understand how to complete declarations needed to stop evictions.
Renters can learn about their eviction and debt collection rights and how to get help with housing costs at www.consumerfinance.gov/renters.
The CFPB is also regularly providing updated information on a wide range of mortgage relief options and rental protections available to consumers. These updates can be found here: www.consumerfinance.gov/coronavirus/mortgage-and-housing-assistance/
The agencies are also monitoring consumer complaints for spikes and trends in potential COVID-related violations that may threaten housing security and require CFPB or FTC action.
If you have a problem with a financial product or service, the CFPB encourages you to file a complaint, particularly if you are facing a pandemic-related financial hardship. To file a complaint, visit www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/ or call (855) 411-2372 or via TTY/TDD at (855) 729-2372.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is a 21st century agency that helps consumer finance markets work by making rules more effective, by consistently and fairly enforcing those rules, and by empowering consumers to take more control over their economic lives. For more information, visit www.consumerfinance.gov.