COVID-19 Eviction Protections
Understanding the CDC Eviction Moratorium

What is the national CDC Eviction Moratorium?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has ordered an Eviction Moratorium during the Covid-19 emergency.


This Moratorium halts evictions for nonpayment of rent until March 31, 2021 if the tenant (1) meets certain requirements and (2) gives the landlord a signed declaration. 


If you are a tenant covered by the Eviction Moratorium:


This moratorium went into effect on September 4, 2020. It states that a landlord, owner of a residential property, or other person with a legal right to pursue eviction or possessory action, shall not evict any covered person from any residential property. Read the full order here.


It prevents evictions through March 31, 2021. It may be extended further.


The CDC order applies to residential properties. This means any property leased for residential purposes, including any house, building, mobile home or land in a mobile home park, or similar dwelling leased for residential purposes. 


The CDC order applies to evictions for nonpayment of rent only. This means the CDC order does not protect people for evictions for things other than nonpayment of rent.

Are all tenants covered by the Eviction Moratorium?

What are the requirements to show that you're protected by the CDC Eviction Moratorium?

No, not all tenants are covered. To be a “covered person,” a tenant, lessee, or resident of a residential property MUST PROVIDE A DECLARATION to their landlord, the owner, or other person with a legal right evict


Find a blank declaration here. Or, you can use this free tool to create a Declaration.


A declaration is sworn testimony, meaning that someone can be prosecuted, go to jail, or pay a fine if they lie, mislead, or omit important information. Each adult listed on the lease, rental agreement, or housing contract should complete the declaration.


The declaration must indicate that a person meets these 5 requirements:

  1. Attempts to get assistance: The individual has used best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing;
  2. Income level: The individual either (i) expects to earn no more than $99,000 in annual income for Calendar Year 2020 (or no more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return), (ii) was not required to report any income in 2019 to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, or (iii) received an Economic Impact Payment (stimulus check) pursuant to Section 2201 of the CARES Act;
  3. Inability to pay rent: The individual is unable to pay the full rent or make a full housing payment due to substantial loss of household income, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, a lay-off, or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses;
  4. Attempting to pay: The individual is using best efforts to make timely partial payments that are as close to the full payment as the individual’s circumstances may permit, taking into account other nondiscretionary expenses; and
  5. Possibility of homelessness or group living: Eviction would likely render the individual homeless— or force the individual to move into and live in close quarters in a new congregate or shared living setting— because the individual has no other available housing options.

Does the Eviction Moratorium mean rent is not owed?

Will tenants have to pay back all the rent they owe during the emergency period?

No, rent is still owed, even during the emergency. 


The order does not relieve any individual of any obligation to pay rent, make a housing payment, or comply with any other obligation under a tenancy, lease, or similar contract. The order does not stop the charging or collecting of fees, penalties, or interest as a result of the failure to pay rent or other housing payment on a timely basis.

Does the Moratorium stop all evictions?

No, some evictions are still allowed. Nothing in the order stops evictions based on reasons other than nonpayment of rent, including terminating a month-to-month tenancy, or any of the following: 

  1. engaging in criminal activity while on the premises;
  2. threatening the health or safety of other residents;
  3. damaging or posing an immediate and significant risk of damage to property;
  4. violating any applicable building code, health ordinance, or similar regulation relating to health and safety; or
  5. violating any other contractual obligation, other than the timely payment of rent or similar housing-related payment (including non-payment or late payment of fees, penalties, or interest).

Are there penalties for violating the Eviction Moratorium?

Yes, there are criminal penalties for evicting someone who is covered by the order


A person violating this order may be subject to a fine of $100,000-$250,000 and/or one year in jail. An organization may be subject to a fine of $200,000-$500,000.

What happens after the moratorium expires on March 31, 2021?

Landlords would be able to evict tenants who did not pay rent once the moratorium expires


It may make sense to work out a fair arrangement between landlords and tenants to avoid an eviction in the middle of winter. 

What can a tenant do to be protected by the Eviction Moratorium?

What should I do if I think I'm covered by the Eviction Moratorium?

Can I be protected against eviction, if I've had COVID hardships?

If you think you are covered by the Moratorium, follow these steps to ensure you are protected.

  • Review the requirements to see if you are covered. See the requirements above on this page.
  • If covered, create a Declaration, and then sign it and provide a copy to your landlord. Every adult who lives in your home must also sign a declaration form. A blank Declaration form is here. Or, you can use this free tool to create this Declaration.
  • Have the Declaration ready. You can either file a copy of the declaration in court or bring it to your eviction hearing. To file a copy before your eviction hearing, visit the Help Center in room 113.
  • Be prepared at your eviction trial. At your eviction hearing, the landlord, their attorney and/or the magistrate may ask you very detailed questions to determine whether you meet the requirements. Use the next section to prepare.
  • Already had your hearing or missed your hearing? Get legal help right away. You might have options.


If you are covered by the Moratorium, an eviction may be put on hold until after March 31, 2021. You would still owe rent during that time.


If you are not covered by the Moratorium, the eviction could move forward.

How can I use the moratorium's protections at an eviction trial?

If your landlord does sue for eviction based on nonpayment of rent before March 31, 2021, you can be prepared to defend yourself.

Come prepared to your eviction hearing. This chart can show you what questions to expect, and what evidence and replies you may able to use to protect yourself.


It goes through the key requirements to show you are covered by the CDC Eviction Moratorium. It presents questions and documents to prepare in order to demonstrate you are covered.


Where can tenants get rent and food assistance during COVID-19?

Contact these organizations to find help during COVID-19. To be covered by the CDC Eviction Moratorium's protections, tenants must seek out government assistance for rent.

Hamilton County CARES Act Resources

Call the Free Store Foodbank: 513-381-7627


Or Talbert House: call 513-338-8596 or email RAP@TalbertHouse.org  


Or Community Action Agency: 513-569-1840. 




Cincinnati Eviction Prevention Funds

Call St. Vincent De Paul: 513-421-0602  



Find Legal Help

Get legal information or speak with a free lawyer at the court’s Help Center 

Visit or call the Help Center at 513-946-5650 to get legal information or to make a free 40 minute appointment with a lawyer. They cannot represent you in court. For more information, visit room 113 of the Hamilton County Courthouse or visit https://www.cincyhelpcenter.org


Hire a private lawyer

Visit https://cincybar.org or call 513-381-8359 for a referral. You can ask them about the Modest Means Program. This may let you get a private lawyer for a more affordable price.

© 2019 Hamilton County Municipal Help Center