Skip to main content

Protections for renters

Español | 繁體中文 | 简体中文 | Tiếng Việt | 한국어 | Tagalog

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.

CDC’s temporary eviction moratorium

To prevent the further spread of the coronavirus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued an order to temporarily halt certain residential evictions for nonpayment of rent. To qualify for the protection, you will need to meet certain eligibility requirements .

Unless the CDC order is extended, changed, or ended, if you meet certain conditions and provide a sworn declaration, the order prevents you from being evicted or removed from where you are living through December 31, 2020.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • The order is effective as of September 4, 2020.
  • You must complete a declaration stating that you meet the specific eligibility requirements.
  • Information on the declaration form notes: “This declaration is sworn testimony, meaning that you can be prosecuted, go to jail, or pay a fine if you lie, mislead, or omit important information.”
  • Each adult listed on the lease, rental agreement, or housing contract should complete this declaration.
  • You are still required to pay rent and follow all the other terms of your lease and rules of the place where you live.
  • You can still be evicted for other reasons, such as violating your lease or the rules of the place where you live.
  • The order does not include foreclosures on home mortgages. Learn more about foreclosure moratoriums that may apply to your housing situation.
  • If you need a lawyer, there may be resources to assist you through your local bar association, legal aid, or if you are a servicemember, your local Legal Assistance Office .

To be protected from eviction for nonpayment of rent, each adult listed on the lease, rental agreement, or housing contract should complete and give the declaration to their landlord, the owner of the residential property where you live, or other person who has a right to have you evicted or removed from where you live. You must make this declaration under penalty of perjury. This is like giving sworn testimony in court, because you could be prosecuted, go to jail, or pay a fine if you lie, mislead, or omit important information.

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.

The CARES Act protections apply to you if:

  • You receive federal rental assistance from a voucher or grant program
  • You or your landlord receive assistance through federally-subsidized housing programs
  • Your rental home or apartment building has a federally-backed mortgage

From March 27 to July 24, 2020, if you were covered by the CARES Act protections, your landlord or housing authority:

  • May not file a legal action to evict you for nonpayment of rent or other fees or charges
  • May not charge fees, penalties, or other charges related to nonpayment
  • Must give you a 30-day notice to vacate (leave the property), but no sooner than July 25, 2020

In some situations (generally single-family homes), the eviction protections have been extended until December 31, 2020 for loans backed by the FHA, VA, USDA, and Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

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 a lawsuit 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 December 31, 2020

FHA, the USDA, and VA have all announced limited extensions of the evictions and foreclosure moratoriums. You may not be evicted before December 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 and FHFA do 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.

Learn about state and local protections for renters

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 and local governments 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?

You may be able to file a complaint with your state Attorney General .

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.

Housing discrimination

Two federal laws prohibit housing discrimination. The protections they offer differ somewhat depending on whether you own or rent your home.

If you own your home, lenders and servicers may not discriminate against you for mortgage servicing practices – like forbearance and loan modifications – based on your race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, family status, disability, whether you are receiving money from a public assistance program, or whether you are exercising your rights under certain consumer protection laws. If you believe a lender or mortgage servicer has discriminated against you, you can generally submit a complaint with the CFPB or file a fair housing complaint with HUD . More information on fair lending and protections against discrimination can be found on the CFPB’s and HUD’s websites.

If you are renting a home or apartment, your landlord is prohibited from changing or setting different terms and conditions for your rental – or from terminating your tenancy – based on your race, color, national origin, religion, sex, family status, or disability. If you believe your rights have been violated you can file a fair housing complaint with HUD .