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Protections for renters

If you’re having trouble making rent payments as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, you are not alone. Fortunately, there are steps renters can take, as well as many significant protections from eviction that apply in certain situations.

Federal, state, and local governments are taking action to offer relief, and this includes helping and protecting many renters. Keep reading to find out about these protections.

Learn about federal protections for renters

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides certain protections from eviction and late fees due to nonpayment of rent for most tenants in federally subsidized or federally backed housing.

From March 27 to July 24, 2020, if you fall into a category described below, your landlord or housing authority may not:

  • File a legal action to evict you for nonpayment of rent or other fees or charges
  • Charge fees, penalties, or other charges related to nonpayment
  • Give you a 30-day notice to vacate (leave the property) until July 25, 2020

In some situations (generally single-family homes), the FHA, VA, and USDA have extended eviction protections until August 31, 2020.

In addition, if your landlord is getting CARES Act relief from mortgage payments on your home, then you may be protected from eviction for a longer period.

These CARES Act protections do not apply if:

  • Your landlord filed to evict you before March 27, 2020. In this situation, you might still receive eviction protection offered by your state or local jurisdiction.
  • You are being evicted for reasons other than nonpayment of rent or fees and charges related to nonpayment of rent. For instance, your landlord can still evict you for breaking other agreements in your lease.

Rent payments are still due

Even if the CARES Act eviction moratorium or a state or local eviction moratorium applies to you, rent payments are still due on the usual date. If you can, continue to pay your rent to avoid eviction in the future.

  • If you are experiencing financial hardship that makes it difficult to pay your rent on time, contact your landlord or housing authority right away.
  • Rental assistance may be available. Visit LegalFAQ.org to find state or local financial assistance.
  • A repayment agreement may help you avoid eviction. once the moratorium is over. Here are some tips:
    • Be honest about your situation. If your income has changed during the COVID pandemic, let them know how.
    • Mention any resources or assistance options you’ve found.
    • Ask about paying rent over time, instead of all at once.

For a full list of tips, see HUD's resources for renters .

  • If you live in federally-subsidized housing and your income has changed, you may qualify for a reduction in rent. Contact your housing authority to talk about income recertification. You may also be eligible for a financial hardship exemption.

Find out if you're protected

You may be protected from eviction if you receive federal rental assistance or live in federally subsidized housing, or your landlord has a federally-backed mortgage.

The CARES Act protections apply to you if:

This includes:

  • Section 8 housing choice voucher program
  • Rural housing voucher program
  • McKinney-Vento homeless assistance grants
  • Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA)
  • Rural Development Vouchers
FIND OUT

To find out what type of rental assistance you have

This includes:

  • Public housing
  • Section 8 project-based housing
  • Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation
  • Section 202 housing for the elderly
  • Section 811 housing for people with disabilities
  • Section 236 or 538 multifamily rental housing
  • Below Market Interest Rate (BMIR) housing
  • Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA)
  • Rural Development multifamily housing programs, grants, or vouchers (Section 516 Farm Labor Housing Grants, Section 542 Rural Development Vouchers, Section 521 Rural Rental Assistance, Section 533 Housing Preservation grants)
  • Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program (LIHTC)
FIND OUT

To find out what type of housing you’re in:

  • Contact HUD at (800) 955-2232, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. E.S.T., Monday through Friday.
  • Visit the National Low-Income Housing Coalition’s multifamily housing search tool .
  • See these FAQs for CARES Act information for public housing tenants.

This includes:

  • FHA, VA, HUD, and USDA mortgages.
  • It also includes mortgage loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
FIND OUT

If you live in a building with 5 or more units, you will need to determine whether the property has a federally backed mortgage:

If you are renting in a property with four or fewer units, your landlord can also check with Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, VA , or USDA to find out if their property is covered.

You may be protected from eviction until August 31, 2020

FHA, the USDA, and VA have all announced limited extensions of the evictions and foreclosure moratoriums. You may not be evicted before August 31, 2020, if you live in a property with a:

Additional protections if your landlord is getting mortgage relief

The CARES Act and additional federal guidance gives landlords of certain multifamily (5 or more units) properties the right to temporary relief from making mortgage payments (forbearance) if they have a federally-backed mortgage. You may not know if your landlord is getting this relief unless you talk with them or do further investigation. HUD does require certain multifamily borrowers/owners in forbearance to inform all residents of the prohibition against eviction solely for nonpayment of rent.

If your landlord is getting relief with respect to multifamily mortgage payments, then you may be protected from eviction for a longer period of time.

During this relief period, your landlord cannot:

  • Evict you or start an eviction solely for nonpayment of rent or other fees or charges
  • Charge you any late fees or penalties for late payments of rent
  • Give you a 30-day notice to vacate
  • For certain multifamily properties, require any missed rent payments to be repaid in a lump sum (HUD/FHA and Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac)

These protections last for as long as your landlord’s mortgage is in forbearance.

What to check next

Some state and local governments have stopped evictions because of the coronavirus pandemic. The details of how renters are protected, and for how long, depend on where you live.

Some states have:

  • Prohibited any eviction notices or action
  • Stopped all court eviction hearings
  • Stopped enforcing eviction orders or judgments

Visit LegalFAQ.org to find out if your state or local community has eviction protections during this time.

If you’re facing financial hardship

The CFPB is committed to providing consumers with up-to-date information and resources to protect and manage their finances during this difficult time. We have resources to help you evaluate your current finances and make decisions about your budget.

For more resources, visit the CFPB’s Coronavirus landing page.

Having issues with your landlord?

Housing discrimination

Federal law prohibits housing discrimination based on your race, color, national origin, religion, sex, family status, or disability. If you have been trying to buy or rent a home or apartment and you believe your rights have been violated, you can file a fair housing complaint with HUD.

Landlord complaints in federal housing

Hundreds of landlords have been fined and/or debarred from doing business with the federal government as a result of failing to provide safe and decent housing for the poor, while enriching themselves on taxpayer-funded subsidies. Find out how to report a bad landlord.