If you are struggling to pay your rent or mortgage in the Houston area, you can now breathe again. Biden’s new administration just signed an extension on the moratorium to prevent you from being evicted for nonpayment through at least March 31, 2021. The moratorium applies to those who rent or have a loan with a Federal lender.

Let’s look at how you can qualify and what you need to know about signing and using this moratorium to prevent eviction.

Sworn Testimony

Before signing the CDC Declaration, make sure to read through the list of qualifying statements. You are signing a sworn testimony that you and any adults in your household qualify for the moratorium. If you lie, mislead, or leave out important information, you can be prosecuted, go to jail, or pay a fine. 

Keep reading to learn about the other qualifications that you need to meet to be covered by the moratorium.

Pay If It’s Possible

You need to pay your rent or lender each month if it is possible for you to do so. This moratorium does not mean that you do not owe the rent or deed payment. You will only make it harder on yourself in the future if you stop paying completely. You also need to continue to comply with other obligations that you have under your lease or deed.

Whether you have a lease or own your home with a Federal lender, fees and penalties or interest may still be charged and accumulate over time. This means you may end up paying more on your home loan over time or owe even more money to your landlord later.

If you sign the declaration, you are stating that you are using your best efforts to make timely partial payments that are as close to the full payment as your circumstances permit. If you have the means to move into another place of your own, this moratorium is not for you.

Unfortunately, when the moratorium ends, your lender or landlord might require the entire amount you owe in full. If you can’t pay up, you will be subject to eviction laws in Texas at that time. 

Other Qualifications

You can answer the following questions with a “YES”:

  • Have you used your best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing?
  • Have you been unable to pay your full rent or make a full housing payment due to one of these:
    • substantial loss of household income?
    • loss of compensable hours of work or wages?
    • lay-offs?
    • extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses?

One of these statements is “TRUE”:

  • Is your income expected to be no more than $99,000 ($198,000 for joint filers) for 2021?
  • Were you not required to report any income in 2020 to the IRS?
  • Did you receive an Economic Impact Stimulus check?

If you were evicted you would be forced to choose one of these options:

  • Likely become homeless
  • Need to move into a homeless shelter
  • Need to move into a new residence shared by other people who live in close quarters

If You Qualify

If you can truthfully say that you qualify for the moratorium, sign and provide a copy of the CDC Declaration to your landlord. If you own your home, contact your lender or the trustee of your Deed of Trust. Every adult on the lease or mortgage has to sign their own copy of the declaration.

Find Answers

If you have any questions about whether you qualify or if you are having trouble with your lender or landlord refusing to accept the declaration, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced attorney who specializes in real estate issues. 

At Jarrett Law, we focus on issues surrounding deeds, properties, and evictions. If you need help keeping your home, reach out for a free consultation. We will look at any issues you have and help you find answers. Our deep commitment to the residents of Houston and our experience working with eviction is worth having on your side. Don’t go through the trauma of eviction alone.