Today the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued an interim final rule supporting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) temporary eviction moratorium. The CDC’s temporary eviction moratorium has been extended through June 30, 2021 based on the current and projected epidemiological context of SARS-CoV-2 transmission throughout the United States. The CDC order generally prohibits landlords from evicting tenants for non-payment of rent if the tenant submits a written declaration that they are unable to afford full rental payments and would likely become homeless or have to move into a shared living setting. This prohibition applies to an agent or attorney acting as a debt collector on behalf of a landlord or owner of the residential property.
The CFPB’s rule requires debt collectors to provide written notice to tenants of their rights under the eviction moratorium and prohibits debt collectors from misrepresenting tenants’ eligibility for protection from eviction under the moratorium. The CFPB’s rule warns that debt collectors who evict tenants who may have rights under the moratorium without providing notice of the moratorium or who misrepresent tenants’ rights under the moratorium can be prosecuted by federal agencies and state attorneys general for violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and are also subject to private lawsuits by tenants.
The CFPB has authority under the FDCPA to “prescribe rules with respect to the collection of debts by debt collectors.” The Interim Final Rule will take effect on May 3, 2021.