New federal law extends eviction moratorium and provides rental assistance

On Dec. 27, President Trump signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 that was passed by Congress on Dec. 21. The law includes the first coronavirus relief package since the CARES Act last March.

The new law includes two major provisions affecting landlords and property managers:

  • The CDC moratorium on evictions for nonpayment of rent that was to expire Dec. 31, 2020 has been extended to Jan. 31, 2020.
  • $25 billion was allocated for dedicated rental assistance.

Regarding the eviction moratorium, our local court will deny issuance of eviction orders to the sheriff for nonpayment of rent until after Jan. 31 if the tenant has given a CDC declaration to the landlord. You can read more about the moratorium here.

At this time, details about the $25 billion federal rental assistance program are sketchy. Here’s what we know now:

  • The funds will be distributed to state and local governments, which will need to develop guidelines for distributing the money. This may take a while.
  • Landlords will be able to apply for rental assistance on behalf of their tenants. If a landlord does not want to apply for funding, a tenant can apply for direct assistance.

Update: Missouri has established an Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) to distribute this funding. Read more.

The new federal law could also make additional funding available that will help landlords and tenants as follows:

  • The deadline for federal coronavirus relief funds to be spent by state and local governments under the CARES Act has been extended. Historically, some of this money has funded rental assistance programs.
  • Stimulus checks of $600 per qualifying individual (including children) will help tenants pay rent.
  • $300 per week federal unemployment insurance enhancement for unemployed tenants also will help tenants pay rent.

In addition, the new federal law could assist landlords and property managers in paying their employees by making available $284 billion in forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans.