Impact of Covid-19 on Evictions – Article by Dennis Morgan
February 11, 2021
Back in the Spring of 2020, New Hampshire’s Governor issued Emergency Order #4 regarding a temporary prohibition on evictions and foreclosures. Landlords were prohibited from starting an eviction proceeding during the State of Emergency. This has since expired however, between the CARES Act and CDC (Centers for Disease Control) moratoriums, most evictions have now been prohibited through the end of March, 2021. This is almost a full year of prohibitions on most evictions. The pandemic’s impact on jobs has been great but there has also been a significant impact on landlords as well.
As it stands now, the CDC Order applies to “covered persons” and residential property. A Covered Person is a tenant of residential property who provides their landlord a declaration that says (1) the tenant has used their best efforts to obtain all government assistance for rent our housing; (2) the tenant earned less than $99,000 in taxable income for 2020 ($198,000 for joint filers); (3) the tenant is unable to pay the full rent or make a housing payment due to substantial loss of income, hours, wages, a layoff or extraordinary medical expenses; (4) the tenant is making best efforts to make timely partial payments; and (5) eviction would likely render the tenant homeless.
The CDC Order applies to any property leased for residential purposes, including any house, building, mobile home and or land in a mobile home park, or similar dwelling. It does not apply to hotel/motel rooms, guest house rentals on a temporary or seasonal basis.
If a tenant qualifies as a Covered Person and completes the CDC declaration, they must provide it to their landlord. If there is more than one person on a lease, each must sign the declaration and provide it to their landlord. Once the tenant completes the declaration, this will cause an eviction proceeding for non-payment of rent to terminate, even up until the point of a writ of possession being served to require a tenant to vacate the leased premises. Evictions that were completed prior to Sept. 4, 2020 are not subject to the CDC Order.
For landlords, this does not mean that there is no way to evict a tenant while the CDC moratorium is in effect. There are 5 exceptions to the moratorium which are: (1) tenant(s) engaging in criminal activity on the rental premises; (2) threatening the health or safety of other tenants; (3) damaging or posing an immediate and significant risk of damage to property; (4) violating applicable building codes, health ordinances or similar health/safety regulation; or (5) violating any other contractual obligation of a tenant’s lease, other than timely payment of rent.
Tenants have an obligation to pay their rent up to the full amount due if able. The moratorium does not suspend or cancel a tenant’s obligation to pay rent. If a tenant is unable to pay their rent and is a “Covered Person”, they cannot be evicted once they submit their CDC declaration to their landlord, but once the CDC Order expires, all unpaid or past due rent will then be due, which will then be a basis for an eviction. This includes not only the past rent but any late fees, penalties, or interest resulting from a tenant’s failure to pay rent during the period of the Order. Best practice would be for tenants to pay their rent if they can afford to do so and for Landlords to know that if they attempt an eviction during the CDC Order there can be serious consequences. Violating the CDC Order can result in fines up to $100,000 and/or a year in jail.
As difficult as the pandemic has been for both tenants and landlords, there are resources available to help. The CARES Act has set aside billions of dollars in grants for the purposes of assisting people with support for rent and housing during the pandemic. Both tenants and landlords would be advised to contact the HUD as well as state and local authorities to find out what is available in their community. This is in the best interest of both the landlords and tenants. Tenants should take full advantage of any federal, state or local rental assistance programs available. The US Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has Covid-19 resources on their website (www.hud.gov).
Dennis L. Morgan, Esq.
May Lunch & Learn Seminar – “Landlord/Tenant Law”, presented by Dennis Morgan, Esq.
May 3, 2017
Join us for Cooper Cargill Chant and Mt Washington Valley Chamber Of Commerce’s next free Lunch & Learn seminar. The final seminar of this series, is “Landlord/Tenant Law” presented by Attorney Dennis Morgan. Attorney Morgan’s focus will be on New Hampshire landlord/tenant laws from the landlord’s perspective. Along with the ins and outs of the eviction process, Attorney Morgan will discuss security deposits, how to avoid wrongful eviction lawsuits and more.
| Date/Time: May 11, 2017, 12pm-1pm | Location: North Conway Water Precinct|
| BRING YOUR OWN LUNCH | RSVP: Lisa 356-5701 ext. 300|
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Cooper Cargill Chant and Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce present Free Lunch & Learn Series
October 25, 2016
Cooper Cargill Chant and the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce present a Lunch & Learn series. Each session in this series will focus on an area of expertise from a Cooper Cargill Chant attorney. These Lunch & Learn sessions will give you the opportunity to learn and network with Cooper Cargill Chant attorneys in an informal environment on legal topics important to you. All sessions are free and a new Lunch & Learn is presented each month! Sessions will be brown bag lunches (bring your own lunch). All sessions are interactive, so please bring your questions. Here is more information about each of the sessions in the upcoming Lunch & Learn series:
April 13, 2017 – Mediation in the Workplace, presented by Randall F. Cooper, Esq.
With over 40 years of practicing law in the Mount Washington Valley and recent mediator certifications, Randy believes in the power of mediation to resolve disputes in the workplace. This session will cover the process of mediation, how mediation works and can help your business resolve disputes in a timely cost effective manner while empowering your employees. Also to be discussed will be the types of disputes where workplace mediation can be most effective and more! BRING YOUR OWN LUNCH | RSVP: Lisa 356-5701 ext. 300
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May 11, 2017 – Commercial and Residential Landlord/Tenant Law – What You Need to Know, presented by Dennis L. Morgan, Esq.
All presentations are general and non-specific overviews of topics involving law. The information offered by these presentations, both written and oral, should not be considered legal advice, and does not give rise to an attorney-client privilege. You should consult with a lawyer to discuss your individual situation if you believe that the topics discussed herein apply to you or your business.
Cooper Cargill Chant partners Meier and Morgan coach MWV Lacrosse Club Teams
May 12, 2016
NORTH CONWAY — What do Cooper Cargill Chant partners Chris Meier and Dennis Morgan share in common, besides a law office and legal expertise? You can find them both most Monday and Thursday afternoons this time of year on the fields behind Kennett Middle School, dedicating their time and talents to coaching Mount Washington Valley Lacrosse Club teams. Attorney Meier coaches the fifth and sixth grade girls’ team and Attorney Morgan coaches the fifth and sixth grade boys’ team. The MWV Lacrosse Club serves the youth of SAU No. 9 and No. 13 plus Fryeburg, Maine.
What began as a parental interest (both men coach their own children’s teams) has since grown into an interest in supporting the sport of Lacrosse for all student athletes in the area, and both now also serve on the Board of the Club.
According to Morgan, it’s all part of their firm’s philosophy of giving back to the community. “We’re coaching our own kids, but we’re also doing it because it’s important for everyone in our office to volunteer. It’s nice that it matches up with a family interest too.”
Meier added, “We’ve decided as a firm to require that all attorneys volunteer time in the community, and we encourage our staff to do the same. The attorneys each serve on two or more local non-profit boards, and practice-wide we serve on more than 20 boards. By having each Cooper Cargill Chant team member dedicate time to a non-profit and mission in which they believe, the goal is that our collective legal experience and enthusiasm can enrich the community in which we live and practice law as well as by.”
The Club organizes and runs youth and club lacrosse teams in the Mount Washington Valley and supports the Kennett Eagles High School Lacrosse teams. The club has been around for many years and was founded originally with a goal to build a youth program to support high school varsity programs. The Club is actively working to get the high school girls’ program recognized as a varsity program.
Meier started the girls’ elementary level teams two years ago, and now, including all age levels, there are 50 participating. Earlier this year, he joined the organization’s board to further help grow the girls’ program. He shared, “There is no shortage of girls who want to compete. Our goal is to get it to a varsity level at Kennett, and continue the reliable feeder program at the elementary and middle school levels.” The girls’ team is following the successful example of the boys’ team, which has been recognized as a varsity sport for over 5 years. Morgan states, “It’s growing in popularity and getting better and better. It’s been great having the youth program feed into the varsity program. Lacrosse is the fastest growing team sport and the oldest team sport in North America.”
Morgan and Meier kicked off practice for the lacrosse season in early April, and games for the program started on April 30.
The boy’s youth programs have now grown to include four teams ranging from third through eighth grade. The Kennett Eagles Boys Lacrosse teams are KHS sanctioned varsity and JV teams that compete in Division 22 NHIAA. The girls high school club team (grades 8-12) plays games against both public and private schools in the area. The club also has a co-ed K-2 to introduce younger kids to the sport as well. The club strives to make it a fun yet disciplined program for all participants. Their belief is that lacrosse is not just a game but a sport that combines athletic skill, intelligent decision making, encourages teamwork and teaches life lessons as well.
Those wishing to learn more about the Club can go to their website: www.mwvlax.com.
Cooper Cargill Chant is the largest law firm north of the lakes region in New Hampshire. With its main office in North Conway, Cooper Cargill Chant lawyers have over 150 years of experience. Cooper Cargill Chant attorneys are recognized leaders of the N.H. Bar Association, have chaired the Boards of the N.H. Bar Association, the N.H. Association for Justice, and the N.H. Bar Foundation. Their lawyers have won numerous awards for their representation of clients throughout New Hampshire, including awards for legal service to the poor, for work in domestic violence cases, in helping form and develop businesses, and in personal injury work. For more information, visit them online at www.coopercargillchant.com or call (603) 356-5439.