Interpreted by Zona Law Group
On Saturday, August 8, 2020, President Trump signed an executive order entitled "Fighting the Spread of COVID-19 by Providing Assistance to Renters and Homeowners." There has been a lot of misinformation about the Presidential EO.
To be clear, President Trump did not create an eviction moratorium nor did he extend the eviction moratorium that existed under the C.A.R.E.S. Act. What the President did was state that our country has a policy of minimizing evictions and foreclosures during the pandemic. He then directed specific government agencies to:
- Investigate whether halting evictions is necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19;
- Identify available federal funds which may be used to provide financial assistance for renters and homeowners;
- To take such action, as appropriate and legal, "to promote the ability of renters and homeowners to avoid eviction or foreclosure" related to financial impacts of COVID-19; and
- Review existing authorities and resources that may be used to prevent evictions and foreclosures for those affected by COVID-19;
The President did not order the stoppage of evictions, but rather directed federal agencies, including the CDC and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to investigate stopping evictions and directed other federal agencies to investigate what federal assistance may be available to assist renters and homeowners.
Because of the careful wording of the EO, we believe that likely this was done as part of the negotiations for the fourth stimulus package and for political reasons. While this did not, as of yet, stop evictions, it is possible such action will come through a different EO, through actions of the CDC or HHS, or from the federal legislature. Stay tuned for updates.