The CDC took an “emergency action” that creates a defense to residential evictions based on non-payment of rent if the tenant presents a signed copy of the approved form to the landlord. This new eviction moratorium lasts until December 31, 2020, and does not relieve tenants of the obligation to pay rent. Landlords may collect fees, penalties, or interest as a result of the failure to pay rent. Thus, for example, while a landlord would be unable to evict a tenant for non-payment of rent, the landlord could still seek a judgment against the tenant for the delinquent balance.  Additionally, the new CDC rule does not affect evictions for reasons other than non-payment of rent such as for reasons based on (1) engaging in criminal activity while on the premises; (2) threatening the health or safety of other residents; (3) damaging or posing an immediate and significant risk of damage to property; (4) violating any applicable building code, health ordinance, or similar regulation relating to health and safety; or (5) violating any other contractual obligation, other than the timely payment of rent or similar housing-related payment (including non-payment or late payment of fees, penalties, or interest). 

While the rule may be challenged, Courts will likely enforce it for now and rule violations could trigger large fines. The Iowa Supreme Court has not yet issued guidance to the bench regarding the CDC’s order and Judges appear to be continuing cases until after December 31, 2020. Accordingly, it is important to work with counsel to ensure you successfully navigate this new facet to the regulatory environment.

Please contact a real estate attorney if you have questions relating to this update. 

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Author:
Eric J. Langston
Attorney
(319) 896-4074
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Disclaimer: This information is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended, nor should it be construed or relied on, as legal advice. Please consult your attorney if specific legal information is desired.

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