2020 Update on Eviction Process to Share with Residents
First, I want to provide you an update on the lawsuit on the eviction moratorium. Governor Ducey filed legal papers with the Arizona Supreme Court arguing that Arizona needs the ability to extend the eviction moratorium to respond to and recover from COVID-19.
The Governor Ducey’s legal team is trying to get the justices to throw out the case by arguing that he is vested with all police power to alleviate actual and threatened damage due to the public health emergency. Citing the Center of Disease Control’s (CDC) warning earlier this year that homeless shelters are often overcrowded and make it difficult to socially distance, the Governor’s legal team argued he needs this ability to be able to ensure that Arizona can continue to respond to and recover from COVID-19 instead of amplify it. The issue now is whether Governor Ducey has standing in the case and whether his arguments will be considered as he, nor the state, is explicitly listed as the defendant in the case and is instead directed at the “justices of peace and constables” who would enforce the evictions. As you know, the Superior Court previously ruled in late July in favor of Governor Ducey and against the landlord who brought the lawsuit for not being able to evict a tenant. In the ruling, the judge ruled Governor Ducey did not abuse his authority when he delayed eviction enforcement, and that he made the decision under his authority in the interest of public health.
Next, this week, the CDC issued a new Order to temporarily halt residential evictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 through the end of the year (December 31, 2020) which is a two months extension from Governor Ducey’s state eviction moratorium.
Under the Order, a landlord, owner of a residential property, or other person with a legal right to pursue eviction or possessory action, cannot evict any covered person from any residential property in any jurisdiction through December 31, 2020. Tenants of residential properties (definition includes mobile home, or land in a mobile home park, or similar dwelling leased for residential purposes) are required to submit a Declaration form to their landlord stating:
- they have used best efforts to obtain available government assistance;
- make less than $99,000 or $198,000 (for joint households);
- has experienced lost income due to the pandemic and cannot make full rent payments;
- will try to make partial payments;
- and that an eviction would leave them homeless or in a close quarter living environment.
Any violation to CDC’s Order may be subject to a fine up to $100,000, or one year in jail, or both, if the violation does not result in a death. If the violation results in a death, then the fine can go up to $250,000. As they have at the state level through their lawsuit, the National Multifamily Housing Council has declared their opposition to the Order, especially without dedicated, long-term funding for rental and unemployment assistance.
You can view the full language of CDC’s Order thru this link:
As always, please let me know if you have any questions.
Pat Schoneck, AAMHO Membership Director, Phone: 520-404-4539