On September 4, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued an order that halts eviction action in certain cases (Click Here for the full language of the order). In summary, if a tenant is being evicted for non-payment and they provide their landlord with a declaration attesting to the five prongs outlined below, then the landlord cannot pursue an eviction based on non-payment. The tenant must attest to the following (our thoughts/comments are in red and italics):
The CDC Order does not apply to EVERY eviction cast automatically. A tenant MUST provide this declaration in order for the CDC Order to go into effect in their case (Click Here for the form declaration from the CDC but as long as the tenant provides a substantially similar declaration it does not have to be this exact form). The CDC Order specifically states: “To invoke the CDC’s order these persons must provide an executed copy of the Declaration form (or a similar declaration under penalty of perjury) to their landlord…”. Also be aware that the CDC Order does not list any deadline on when the tenant has to provide the declaration. This means that a tenant may be able to provide a declaration and seek the protections of the CDC Order at any time along the eviction process (including the day of the lockout). The CDC Order may also impact cases that have already been filed and are being processed.
If a tenant qualifies for protection and provides the required CDC declaration, the landlord is prohibited from taking eviction action against the tenant. Specifically, the CDC Order defines "eviction" as "any action by a landlord, owner of a residential property, or other person with a legal right to pursue eviction or a possessory action, to remove or cause the removal of a covered person from a residential property.” It does not prohibit a landlord from trying to work with their tenant and reminding them of the balance owed, but be cautious about threatening eviction, issuing eviction notices, or taking other eviction action.
Both landlords and tenants should take the CDC Order very seriously because it lists severe criminal penalties (including possible fines of no more than $100,000/$250,000 for individuals and $200,000/$500,000 for organizations). Again, without the required declaration from a tenant the CDC Order does not come into play. But if you receive a declaration that complies with the CDC Order you be very cautious and contact us immediately. On the flip side, if a tenant violates the CDC order by fraudulently filling out the declaration, they should be subject to criminal charges and fines as well.
After speaking with several of our clients about the CDC Order, they are planning on reaching out to their tenants as they normally would. However, if payment is not made and no payment plan is in place, they intend to issue eviction notices and process the eviction as normal (including turning the case over to us). We will continue to process our cases unless we receive a declaration under the CDC Order. This means that some evictions may be halted once a declaration is provided, but the alternative is to do nothing until January 1, 2021.
If you have any questions about the CDC Order, contact our office at 801-610-9879.
The CDC Order only impacts evictions for non-payment and specifically states that other types of evictions may continue - criminal activity, threats to health or safety of other residents, damaging or posing an immediate and significant risk of damage to property, violation of applicable building code, health ordinance, or similar regulation relating to health and safety, or violating any other contractual obligation, other than the timely payment of rent, late fees, penalties or interest.
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Utah Eviction Law