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Press Release

US Attorney's Office Statement on CDC Moratorium on Evictions

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Rhode Island

The United States Attorney’s Office today issued the following statement regarding DOJ enforcement of the eviction moratorium order issued by the Centers for Disease Control:

            In September of 2020, the CDC issued a federal order imposing a Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions to Prevent the Further Spread of COVID-19.  That order, which has since been extended through March 31, 2021, prohibits landlords from evicting tenants for non-payment of rent during the period between September 4, 2020 and the end of March.  In Rhode Island, the State District Court has issued an order implementing this policy; that order has also extended relief through March 31, 2021. 

Under the CDC and state court orders, tenants who meet income eligibility requirements (generally, those who earn less than $99,000 per year, or $198,000 if filing jointly) and who are unable to pay their full rent due to substantial loss of household income, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, a lay-off, or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses can obtain protection from eviction by providing a sworn declaration regarding their situation to their landlord (available at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/declaration-form.pdf). Once this declaration is provided, a landlord is prohibited from evicting the tenant while the moratorium remains in effect, and is subject to substantial penalties, including fines of up to $250,000 and up to a year in jail.  The order does not affect the obligation of tenants to pay rent, however, nor does it bar the collection of fees, penalties, and interest.

Given the gravity of the current public health crisis, tenants covered by the CDC order should consider taking appropriate steps to obtain legal protection from eviction and report violations of the order to this office by email: usari.civilrightscomplaint@usdoj.gov; Fax: (401) 709-5001, or phone (401) 709-5010. We likewise encourage landlords to consider alternatives to legal action while the CDC moratorium remains in effect.

Further information on the CDC moratorium is available here:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/covid-eviction-declaration.html

The State of Rhode Island District Court orders are available here:

https://www.courts.ri.gov/Courts/districtcourt/PDF/20-06.pdf

https://www.courts.ri.gov/Courts/districtcourt/PDF/20-07amended1-31-21.pdf

 

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Contact

Jim Martin
(401) 709-5357

Updated February 5, 2021

Topic
Consumer Protection
Press Release Number: 21-12