BROADCAST EMAIL – Regulatory Update
1) Treasury Issues Updated FAQs on the Emergency Rental Assistance Program
On March 26, 2021, the Department of Treasury posted an updated version of the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). The 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act established the ERAP, administered by the Secretary of the Treasury, to assist renter households most vulnerable to the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. Additional information on the ERAP program can be found here. These updated FAQs were issued by the last Administration on January 19, 2021, and also by the current Administration on February 22, 2021 and March 16, 2021. There were major changes between the January and February FAQs, including more clarity and flexibility about assisted residents and residents in irregular housing situations receiving assistance, as long as it was not duplicative of rental assistance they did or could otherwise receive. The RD Notices, discussed below, speak more to that point. The changes in March are more limited but do expand use of funds for relocation and administrative costs.
The March 26th update adds one item which outlines the criteria for administrative expenses by allowing grantees to use not more than 10 percent of the amount paid to a grantee for administrative costs attributable to providing financial assistance and housing stability services to eligible households. These updated FAQs supersede any previous FAQs. Updates will continue to be issued by Treasury and CARH will send that information to our members. If you have questions about the FAQs, input on other ERAP-specific matters that might need clarity in guidance, or urgent concerns, you can send your suggestions to CARH at email@example.com or email Treasury officials directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2) CDC Extends Eviction Moratorium
Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH, issued a media statement on the extension of the CDC’s eviction moratorium which prohibits evictions for nonpayment of rent until June 20, 2021. This new Order is effective April 1, 2021. In support of the new Order, the White House issued a Fact Sheet entitled, The Biden-Harris Administration’s Multi-Agency Effort to Support Renters and Landlords.
Originally, the CDC issued a version of this Order on September 1, 2020, made effective by publication in the Federal Register at 85 Fed. Reg. 55292 (September 4, 2020). That September Order expired December 31, 2020, and in the interim, Congress extended the moratorium and Order under January 31, 2021, as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (Division N, Title V, Section 502). On January 29, 2021, the CDC issued an updated Order extending the moratorium until March 31, 2021. There is discussion that that the moratorium will likely be extended again through at least the end of September 2021.
3) RD Issues Notices about the ERAP and CDC Eviction Moratorium
Many of you, or your residents, have begun receiving two notices from Rural Development (RD). One is entitled “Emergency Rental Assistance and Eviction Moratorium” and the other “CDC Eviction Moratorium and Tenant Resources,” along with a list of state agency contacts for the ERAP program. The Notices largely track the ERAP FAQs noted above and the CDC Order noted above. However, the notices were issued before the March 26th ERAP FAQs and March 28th CDC Order updates. Therefore, there are inconsistencies. In addition, these RD Notices state that under the CARES Act you are required to give 30-days’ notice before eviction. We assume this may not be material as local eviction laws require notice and due process before eviction. That said, the idea that there is a permanent federal 30-day notice requirement may become an issue. Moreover, it is disconcerting because the plain language of the CARES Act does not support this reading. We have advised RD of CARH’s position in a March 16th letter. Of course, while our goal is to house residents and we know you value those relationships, in the event eviction becomes necessary, and is possible, you should consult your own counsel in any specific case about this issue and the applicability of this 30-day notice issue.
Please contact the CARH national office at email@example.com or 703-837-9001 should you have questions or concerns.