EXCLUSIVE: Rose Law Group Attorney Eric Hill outlines tenants rights under new virus rules.

By Eric Hill, Attorney at Rose Law Group

Eviction moratoriums are being implemented across the country in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In Arizona, there are two moratoriums that landlords and tenants should understand. First, the federal CARES Act includes several provisions relating to evictions. Second, Governor Ducey imposed a moratorium on evictions with his March 24th Executive Order. Here’s what each does:

The CARES Act

The CARES Act moratorium applies to landlords with certain types of federally-backed mortgages. It applies when the landlord’s mortgage for the property is insured, guaranteed or assisted by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the rural housing voucher program or the Violence Against Women Act of 1994. 

Landlords with these mortgages are prohibited from initiating eviction proceedings or charging fees and penalties for nonpayment of rent for 120 days beginning on the day of the Act’s enactment, March 27, 2020. Landlords with these mortgages may not issue any notice to vacate to tenants until after the 120 period has elapsed, and cannot require a tenant to actually vacate until 30 days after that notice is given. 

Governor Ducey’s Executive Order

Governor Ducey’s Executive Order postpones eviction proceedings for 120 days from March 24th, 2020. It applies to tenants who fall into the following categories:

–      Tenants required to be quarantined because they have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

–       Tenants ordered by a licensed medical professional to self-quarantine based on symptoms defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

–       Tenants required to be quarantined because someone in their home has been diagnosed with COVID-19.-

–       Tenants demonstrating a health condition that puts them at risk for coronavirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

–       Tenants suffering a substantial loss of income resulting from COVID-19 due to: job loss, reduction in compensation, closure of place of employment, need to be absent from work to care for a home-bound school-age child, or other pertinent circumstances. 

If a tenant is experiencing any of the circumstances described above, they are required to notify the landlord in writing and provide any available supporting documentation of their financial hardship or state of quarantine. The tenant also must acknowledge that the contractual terms of the lease remain in effect. 

The order also specifies that a landlord shall not interpret a health and safety provision of a contract as a reason for terminating a lease, and cannot terminate a lease solely based on the information provided by the tenant described above. 

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