Trump Executive Order: The New Eviction Moratorium

I have a roommate. How do the rules work for us?

The order does not deal with roommates directly, but the officials clarified that the income cap was $99,000 per roommate. As for who should pay what if just one person can’t pay in full, the specifics may depend on the terms of the lease, any written agreement between you and your roommate, and applicable state or local law.

I’m in a pretty bad way. Can I stretch the truth some?

You shouldn’t. The order makes a point of noting that the declaration “is sworn testimony, meaning that you can be prosecuted, go to jail or pay a fine if you lie, mislead or omit important information.”

What do I do with the declarations once they are done?

Email, send or hand them to the landlord in a way that allows you to get proof that the landlord received them. That way, there will be no question as to whether you did what you were supposed to do. Make sure you keep a copy for yourself.

Then what?

Keep paying as much as you can. Otherwise, you risk failing the eligibility test, which says you should be trying to make partial payments to the best of your ability.

Can the landlord still evict me for reasons other than nonpayment?

Yes. All the usual rules about criminal behavior or disruptions or destruction of property still apply. And it’s possible that a landlord will look hard for some other reason to start the eviction process, so it’s wise to follow every term of the lease, as well as any other building or property rule.

Amy Woolard, a lawyer and policy coordinator for the Legal Aid Justice Center in Charlottesville, Va., warned of one issue that she and her colleagues frequently see cited in eviction cases: people not on the lease who are living at the property. This could be an issue if you’re hosting guests — like a family member who has already been evicted elsewhere.

Will interest or penalties accrue if I don’t pay the rent in full?

The order does not prevent landlords from charging fees, penalties or interest. Nor does it place any restrictions on how high they can go. Check your lease to see if there are any provisions about how this may work.

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