Residential and commercial real estate services, including settlement services, are considered essential critical infrastructure per Merced County Health Order issued on April 8, 2020, number 12, section f, subsection (i), as defined under the category of “Other Community, or Government Based Operations and Essential Functions” by the United States Department of Homeland Security, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). CISA Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers during COVID-19 Response
The California Association of Realtors website is dedicated to providing COVID-19 related information and resources for real estate agents, home buyers, home sellers and renters. The following resources, and more, are available:
- Guidelines for Real Estate Best Practices During COVID-19
- Information on recent news items that could impact real estate transactions and resources to help agents navigate transactions during the California Coronavirus outbreak
- Additional Resources
Federal Eviction Moratorium
- Presidential Executive Order 13945 of August 8, 2020: Fighting the Spread of COVID-19 by providing assistance to Renters and Homeowners
- Through this order, President Trump directed various federal agencies to consider whether additional aid would be necessary to prevent evictions. The following new CDC program is a result of that order.
- September 1, 2020: Order Issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Order under Section 361 of the Public Health Service Act to temporarily halt residential evictions to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.
- Effective: September 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020
- Purpose to keep people out of homeless shelters or other crowded living conditions that could worsen the spread of COVID-19.
- The moratorium will apply to those individuals who expect to earn $99,000 or less in 2020 (or couples filing jointly who expect to earn $198,000 or less)—those who received a stimulus check this year, or would have been eligible based on their 2020 income, are also eligible.
- Renters seeking protection under the new program must certify through a Declaration Form that they are unable to pay their rent because of the Coronavirus crisis (lost income or extraordinary medical expenses), that they are likely to become homeless if they are forced to leave their homes and have to live in a shelter or other crowded place, and that they undertook their best effort to obtain other government assistance to make their rental payments.
- Renters who receive protection under the program will also have to certify that they are paying as much rent as they can afford, the CDC order says.
- When the moratorium expires at the end of the year, renters who received protection will still need to make up missed payments to their landlords.
- Senior administration officials said because the CDC has authority to take reasonable efforts to combat the spread of communicable diseases, it has the authority to intervene in a landlord-tenant relationship during the current public health crisis.
- Unlike earlier Covid-19 federal housing protections, which applied only to properties with federally backed mortgages, this moratorium will apply to all rental units in the United States (but only for those renters who qualify), the administration officials said.
- This moratorium: does not prohibit late fees, does not forgive back unpaid rent, does not establish a financial fund to help renters get caught up.
California Eviction Moratorium
- CA Assembly Bill 3088: Tenant, Homeowner, and Small Landlord Relief and Stabilization Act of 2020; approved by Governor Newsom on August 31, 2020
- Effective: September 1, 2020 through January 31, 2021
- Tenants who pay at least 25% of their rent from September 1 through January 31 will be protected from eviction—and won’t be liable for rent that was due from March through August until March 2021.
- Protects certain rental property owners from foreclosure as long as they own no more than four dwellings and meet certain criteria, including having a tenant who can’t pay their rent “due to a reduction in income resulting from the novel Coronavirus.
- To qualify, renters have to submit a form each month, the Declaration of COVID-19-related financial distress, declaring they face a Covid-19 related hardship and can’t pay their rent.
- It bans any evictions for back rent owed so far and forces landlords to civil court to collect debts, but requires renters to pay at least 25% of rent moving forward.
- The state unveiled a website, Housing Is Key. It provides information for tenants, landlords and homeowners in different languages, as well as links to resources.