By Elizabeth Glidden, MHP's Director of Strategic Initiatives and Policy
On September 4, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a national moratorium on most evictions for nonpayment of rent, to protect the health and safety of all residents and help prevent the spread of COVID-19. This action is unprecedented and essential; it will not expire until December 31, 2020. Unlike previous federal protections, this order covers all properties , not just those with federally backed mortgages or funding.
In Minnesota, starting in mid-March, Governor Walz has protected health and safety with an evictions suspension that prohibits evictions and lease terminations. Effective August 4, the Governor’s Emergency Executive Order continues to suspend most evictions with some exceptions, such as for damage to property and safety as specified.
Because Governor Walz’s Emergency Executive Order suspending evictions has stronger protections for renters than the CDC evictions moratorium, the provisions of the CDC moratorium do NOT apply; Minnesotans must continue to comply with the Governor's order suspending evictions. HOME Line has provided detailed updates and FAQ’s on the Governor’s suspension of evictions here.
While the provisions of Governor Walz’s Emergency Order suspending evictions provide greater protection to renters than the CDC moratorium, the Governor’s EO must be extended in 30-day increments whereas the CDC moratorium is in place through December 31. As of September 10, Governor Walz has announced his intention to extend the peacetime emergency, which would include the suspension of evictions, for another 30 days.
An overview of the CDC Eviction Moratorium, developed by NLIHC and NHLP, can be found here.
It is critical that Minnesota agencies and organizations continue to promote a consistent message of compliance with the Governor's Order suspending evictions. The CDC moratorium has unique requirements for renters, and limits coverage primarily to non-payment of rent, which could cause confusion for renters, owners, and property managers: these unique provisions of the CDC moratorium do not apply in Minnesota.
Neither the CDC moratorium, nor the Governor’s suspension of evictions, relieves renters of any obligation to pay rent. We are desperately in need of Congress to approve a COVID-19 relief bill with at least $100 billion in housing assistance.
In Minnesota, the COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program launched August 24, making $100 million available to help prevent eviction, prevent homelessness, and maintain housing stability for eligible renters and homeowners. The program is designed to cover expenses such as rent, mortgage, utilities or other housing-related expenses that were incurred after March 1, 2020 and are past due.
Minnesotans can apply for housing assistance and learn more at Greater Twin Cities United Way’s 211 Resource Helpline at 211unitedway.org. Call Greater Twin Cities United Way Toll Free: 1.800.543.7709; Local: 651.291.0211), visiting 211unitedway.org online, or texting “MNRENT” or “MNHOME” to 898-211.) The 211 helpline has dedicated multilingual staff available to answer questions about the COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.