CFPB Requires Debt Collectors Seeking Evictions to Provide Notice of CDC Moratorium
Debt collectors must disclose the CDC eviction moratorium to tenants facing eviction and cannot misrepresent tenants' eligibility for protection.
On April 19, 2021, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ("CFPB") invoked its rulemaking authority under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to issue an interim final rule requiring debt collectors seeking eviction for nonpayment of rent to provide clear and conspicuous written notice to tenants of their rights under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's ("CDC") eviction moratorium.
The CDC's eviction moratorium generally prohibits property owners from evicting certain tenants for nonpayment of rent, if the tenants submit a written declaration attesting that they are unable to pay and will likely become homeless or move into a shared living situation if they are evicted. The CDC's eviction moratorium, originally published on September 4, 2020, has been extended three times and is currently set to expire on June 30, 2021.
Under the CFPB's interim final rule, debt collectors must provide notice of the CDC's eviction moratorium on the same day as an eviction notice or, in jurisdictions not requiring eviction notices, on the same day an eviction action is filed. The interim final rule will also prohibit debt collectors from misleading tenants about their eligibility for protection under the CDC eviction moratorium.
According to the CFPB, a debt collector may comply with the interim final rule by providing notice of the CDC eviction moratorium to every tenant facing eviction, instead of making individual determinations as to which tenants may reasonably qualify under the moratorium. The CFPB further advised that debt collectors may include the disclosure in the same envelope containing the notice of eviction, and that the disclosure may be provided again to the tenant in every subsequent communication. To aid debt collectors in complying with the Rule, the CFPB published a fact sheet and sample disclosure language.
The CFPB's interim final rule goes into effect on May 3, 2021. Interested parties may submit comments on the interim final rule on or before May 7, 2021.