What the New Federal Eviction Moratorium Means for Maryland Landlords Who Rent Out Residential Properties
Many federal laws set a minimum standard of duty owed to individual workers or consumers; the federal law requires state lawmakers to adopt the federal standard unless they have a state law already in force that is even more accommodating to its intended beneficiaries. For example, states that have not set their own minimum wage must require employers to pay their employees at least the minimum wage. Meanwhile, states that already set their minimum wage higher than the federal one do not need to lower their minimum wage to match the federal one. The newly announced order by the federal government, which bans most residential evictions until December 31, 2020 functions similarly. Some states, including Virginia, as well as the District of Columbia, already have eviction bans that offer residential tenants even more protection than the federal moratorium. Maryland, however, must follow the federal order. Maryland individuals and companies in the business of renting out residential properties have several options as far as what to do in response to the latest eviction ban, and as with so many issues during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are no simple answers. A Maryland real estate business lawyer can help you decide the best path to financial survival for the next few months.
The New Federal Eviction Moratorium: What and Why
The federal government issued an order banning eviction of residential tenants for nonpayment of rent. It still allows landlords to evict tenants for engaging in illegal activity on the rented property. It only applies to tenants whose income is low enough to have qualified for the stimulus checks sent out in the spring, namely up to $99,000 for individuals and $198,000 for married couples.
The original impetus to issue this order came from the CDC. Its reasoning is that evicting tenants who cannot afford to pay their rent will worsen the public health crisis. If evicted tenants move to homeless shelters or move in with relatives or friends, it will mean that more people are together in an indoor space for prolonged periods of time, which is how most cases of COVID-19 are transmitted. In other words, evictions would prolong the pandemic and make economic recovery take even longer.
What Can Maryland Landlords Do?
The eviction ban order offers immediate short-term relief to tenants but not to landlords. It does, however, allow landlords to continue to charge rent and late fees for the coming months. You can charge tenants as much as you want, but you just can’t evict them before January 2021 if they don’t pay. Perhaps the best long-term solution is to be flexible about the payment schedule. You want your tenants to continue renting from you and paying rent after they go back to work; it might mean that you have to reduce the rent charges for the pandemic months and accept payment in small installments over a long term.
Contact Us Today for Help
This is not an easy time to be a landlord, but a Washington DC real estate lawyer can help you make the best of it. Contact Tobin, O’Connor & Ewing for help.