Updated: September 2020

COVID-19 has everyone concerned about their health and safety.  Every day brings new questions, laws, regulations and uneasiness as we collectively face the uncertainty of how quickly the virus will spread or if we have done our part to contain it.

The federal government and state of Arizona have each enacted new laws which affect a landlord’s ability to evict tenants. The federal government enacted the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) and the state of Arizona issued an Executive Order (Order). The CARES Act is more broad than the Order and trumps state law.

Below, you will find more information about the Order and CARES Act.

UPDATE September 2020: On September 1, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an eviction moratorium for nonpayment of rent for certain renters until the end of the year. The order is effective beginning Friday, September 4, 2020 and ends December 31, 2020. See the CDC order here.

The order does not affect state and local eviction moratoriums that are already in place that meet or exceed the same level of protection as that in the CDC order.

According to the CDC order, tenants must meet the following requirements:

Every adult tenant listed on the lease, rental agreement, or housing contract must provide a declaration to their landlord certifying under penalty of perjury the following:

I have used best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing;

I either expect to earn no more than $99,000 in annual income for Calendar Year 2020 (or no more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return), was not required to report any income in 2019 to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, or received an Economic Impact Payment (stimulus check) pursuant to Section 2201 of the CARES Act;

I am unable to pay my full rent or make a full housing payment due to substantial loss of household income, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, lay-offs, or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses;

I am using best efforts to make timely partial payments that are as close to the full payment as the individual’s circumstances may permit, taking into account other nondiscretionary expenses;

If evicted I would likely become homeless, need to move into a homeless shelter, or need to move into a new residence shared by other people who live in close quarters because I have no other available housing options.

I understand that I must still pay rent or make a housing payment, and comply with other obligations that I may have under my tenancy, lease agreement, or similar contract. I further understand that fees, penalties, or interest for not paying rent or making a housing payment on time as required by my tenancy, lease agreement, or similar contract may still be charged or collected.

I further understand that at the end of this temporary halt on evictions on December 31, 2020, my housing provider may require payment in full for all payments not made prior to and during the temporary halt and failure to pay may make me subject to eviction pursuant to State and local laws.

UPDATE July 2020: On July 16, 2020, Governor Ducey issued Executive Order 2020-49 continuing the postponement of eviction enforcement actions. The order takes effect on July 23, 2020 and expires on October 31, 2020.

While the Order does not cover every scenario, below are some questions and answers for tenants, landlords and property managers based on what we know to date.  Updates to this article will occur as we receive further guidance.

On March 24, 2020, Governor Ducey issued Executive Order 2020-14 (Order) delaying residential evictions for those affected by COVID-19. The Order is in effect for 120 days and applies to renters who are quarantined or faced with economic hardship as a result of COVID-19.

Shortly after the Order was implemented, the federal government passed the CARES Act. Included in the CARES Act were several provisions that prevent the eviction of residential tenants of certain real property secured by Federally backed mortgage loans under several federal programs for a 120-day period (Moratorium). The Moratorium began March 27, 2020 and will end July 25, 2020. 

UPDATE August 2020: The Federal Housing Financing Agency directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to  to extend the moratoria on single-family foreclosures and real estate owned (REO) evictions until at least Dec. 31, 2020. The foreclosure moratorium applies to GSE-backed, single-family mortgages only.

UPDATE June 2020: The Federal Housing Financing Agency extended the national moratorium an additional two months for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans.  As such, foreclosures and evictions on single family homes backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans are halted until August 31, 2020.

Key provisions are:

  •  The landlord of a “covered dwelling” cannot: (A) make, or cause to be made, any filing to initiate a legal action to recover possession of the covered dwelling from the tenant for nonpayment of rent; and (B) impose any fees, penalties or other charges on a tenant for late payment of rent.
  • During the Moratorium, the landlord of a covered dwelling cannot: (A) require a tenant to vacate a dwelling unit located in the applicable property before the date that is 30 days after the date the tenant is provided a notice to vacate; and (B) issue a notice to vacate until after the expiration of the Moratorium.

Q. Does Federal law trump State law?

A. Yes.  Because Federal law trumps State law, that means if the property is covered under the CARES Act, the landlord may not initiate legal action to evict the tenant for nonpayment of rent.  The landlord may also not charge the tenant for late fees, penalties, etc.

Q. How do I know if the property has a federally backed mortgage?

A. You can call your mortgage servicer and ask. You can also find a list of federal agencies and entities at https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/blog/guide-coronavirus-mortgage-relief-options/ 

This article is of a general nature and reflects only the information at the time it was drafted. It is not intended as definitive legal advice, and you should not act upon it without seeking independent legal counsel.