With over 30 million people filing for unemployment, the number of renters who may be unable to pay their rent has increased dramatically throughout the United States. People who once worked in hospitality, service, restaurants, busy offices, gig workers and the self-employed are now staying at home under orders from state governments to stop the spread of COVID-19.

To protect individuals who have lost their income, states have implemented new renter protection laws. The legislation, which is typically temporary, is meant to help the millions of residents suddenly becoming homeless or unemployed. As states implement and update these measures, it’s essential for landlords to keep up with the changes and comply with new renter protection measures, while protecting their own properties. 

The COVID-19 eviction laws differ by state, as well as by city in some areas. Staying up-to-date on these new regulations can be difficult, but it’s important to know what is currently legal and what is prohibited where your properties are located. To help, here is a summary of the measures that have already been put in place throughout the United States.

Eviction Moratoriums

If you’ve already begun eviction proceedings on a tenant, many states and cities have stopped these actions for a set time. Most orders stop evictions for between 30 and 90 days. For federally backed housing, the CARES Act mandates 120 days of relief for tenants, making it illegal to serve an eviction notice until July 25. These servings must also include a 30-day notice.

Here are the other states and cities that passed similar eviction moratoriums:

Arizona: Eviction orders cannot be enforced until July 23.

California: Statewide, landlords cannot evict tenants who inform them in writing of their need to delay payments due to COVID-19. Many cities passed individual orders and announcements:

  • In Anaheim, both residential and commercial evictions are on hold until May 31. These tenants also have an additional three months to repay missed payments. 
  • In Hayward, there is a 90-day moratorium on residential evictions for failure to pay and no-fault evictions. 
  • In San Jose, the government ordered a minimum 30-day eviction moratorium for tenants who can show they have a substantial loss of income due to the virus. This is also the case in Fresno, where renters have six months after the city emergency ends to pay the rent back. 
  • In Los Angeles, residential tenants have 12 months to pay past-due rent. Commercial tenants have three months to get in the black. 
  • In Sacramento, renters who are able to show they have a loss of income and are unable to pay cannot be evicted during the crisis. 
  • In Costa Mesa, there is a temporary ban on evictions. Tenants have four months after the crisis to repay past-due rent. However, they must provide documentation of inability to pay within 30 days after rent is due. 
  • In Culver City, Ojai, and Santa Ana, residential tenants who can prove an inability to pay rent cannot be evicted during the local emergency period. They will also have six months to repay what they owe once the crisis ends. 
  • In San Francisco, Stockton, San Bernardino, El Monte, Oxnard, Pasadena, and Santa Monica, the government implemented an order to stop all evictions for residential tenants who cannot pay rent due to the Coronavirus. 
  • In Rancho Cucamonga and Simi Valley, an eviction moratorium is in place for residential tenants who show documentation within 30 days of an inability to pay due to COVID-19. This is also true for Moorpark, where tenants will have six months after the end of the local emergency to repay past-due rent. 
  • In San Diego, the tenant must state in writing on or before the rent due date that the virus has impacted their ability to pay. If this is done, landlords cannot evict the tenant. 
  • In Palm Springs, residential tenants who show a financial impact due to COVID-19 within 90 days of rent due cannot be evicted.
  • In Long Beach, both residential and commercial tenants cannot be evicted if they cannot pay due to the health crisis. Rent unpaid through May 31 will be due by November 30. 
  • In San Luis Obispo, both the county and the city, there is a moratorium through May 31. As additional rental protection during Coronavirus, landlords are unable to collect late fees or seek rent payments during this time.
  • In Concord, there is a temporary moratorium on both evictions and rent increases. The day after the moratorium is lifted, tenants will have 90 days to repay due rent.

Colorado: Law enforcement cannot enforce writs of possession, although tenants still have a duty to pay rent. This action was supported separately by the city of Denver.

Delaware: All residential evictions are not allowed on any rental unit, and any past-due balance cannot incur late fees or interest during the state of emergency.

Florida: Evictions due to non-payment due to COVID-19 are prohibited for 45 days. In Miami-Dade, Orange County, Hillsborough County, and Broward County, further action ordered law enforcement to not enforce evictions already underway.

Georgia: In Fulton County, which includes Atlanta, all evictions of the city’s Public Housing Authority are on hold.

Hawaii: All evictions are on hold until further notice.  

Illinois: All enforcement of eviction orders for residential units have ceased. In addition, no new eviction orders will be enforced for 30 days in Kendall and DeKalb counties. 

Indiana: While evictions cannot be initiated, tenants are not relieved of their duty to pay rent. 

Kansas: The state ordered all financial institutions to suspend new evictions. 

Louisiana: All pending evictions are suspended until April 24 in New Orleans. Any eviction that has already been ordered is allowed to continue. 

Mississippi: Evictions are only able to proceed if the tenant poses a substantial risk to another person or an imminent and severe risk to the property. 

Minnesota: Similar to Mississippi, evictions are only allowed if the tenant seriously endangers others. 

Missouri: In the city of St. Louis, law enforcement has suspended eviction enforcement until further notice.  

New Hampshire: No evictions can be initiated, and no eviction orders can be issued or enforced. However, this does not mean that tenants are relieved of their duty to pay rent.  

New Jersey: There is an indefinite moratorium on evictions or removing people from foreclosed homes during the pandemic. 

Nebraska: If tenants provide documentation that they are unable to pay rent due to COVID-19, they cannot be evicted. 

New Mexico: In Santa Fe, it is prohibited to evict residential and commercial tenants who cannot pay rent due to the public health emergency. 

Nevada: The governor ordered a prohibition of lock-outs, notices to quit or pay, and eviction filings during the state of emergency. This includes orders already filed in the courts.  

New York: There is a 90-day moratorium on residential and commercial evictions.  

Oregon: Law enforcement officers cannot participate in any eviction processes, including serving orders. 

Tennessee: In Nashville and the rest of Davidson County, law enforcement officers have halted all evictions until further notice.  

Washington State: All residential evictions are prohibited until April 17 (update this as 4/17 has already passed) statewide. These restrictions have a shorter term than other states, but it’s worth noting that they’ve already been extended several times. An earlier version of the governor’s order prohibited evictions until April 9th, and it’s likely that the more recent order will be extended as well.   

Wisconsin: In Dane County, there is a moratorium on all evictions, including orders by the court yet to be carried out by the sheriff.

Holds on Court Proceedings

Another way that states and local governments have protected rental tenants is by temporarily limiting the abilities of the courts to hear and act on eviction-related proceedings. Most of these suspensions of action have a date in which the courts are expected to resume. It is possible that these temporary renter protection laws will be extended as the health emergency continues. 

The states and districts that have stopped court action in regard to evictions include:

In addition, some cities and counties have limited the judicial system’s ability to hear eviction-related cases during the COVID-19 pandemic. These include:

How to Stay Aware and Safe During COVID-19

Like so much about the Coronavirus, information is updated and changing every day. Landlords, property owners, and property managers along with both residential and commercial tenants, should continue to monitor the situation. It is likely that eviction moratoriums and court closings will extend in tandem with official states of emergency. 

For property owners who are now faced with financial challenges of their own, experts recommend discussing payment plans with renters who cannot pay what is due. You may be able to apply for a Small Business Administration Emergency Disaster Assistance Fund loan to support the loss of income you’ll experience during this time. 

It’s also important to continue providing emergency maintenance, as well as increased cleaning measures of common areas. If one of your tenants tests positive for COVID-19, you’ll need to follow HIPAA privacy rules to protect the individual.    

To reduce costs, you may consider limiting entry of rental properties as well as allowing all nonessential staff to stay safe at home. Remember to keep social distancing protocols, as well as stay patient and understanding, during all interactions with tenants and staff. 

If you need additional help with renter protection measures or simply want to assist your renters during this time of need, contact RentSense. RentSense provides security deposit insurance for landlords that can supplement or completely replace large cash security deposits. Several landlords wishing to help their residents have used RentSense Deposit Plus+ to allow them to return security deposits to renters in need while keeping their properties protected. 

Contact us online or call 833-500-5959 for more information.