CFPB Sends Notification Letters to Landlords Regarding COVID-19 Evictions

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On May 3, 2021, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sent notification letters reminding the nation’s largest apartment landlords of federal protections in place to keep tenants in their homes and stop the spread of COVID-19.   The Notification Letter points to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) eviction moratorium for non-payment of rent (CDC Moratorium), which the CDC extended through June 30, 2021, as well as recent guidance from the CFPB and FTC in support of the CDC Moratorium.

The Notification Letter also provides an overview of the CFPB’s final rule, effective May 3, 2021, addressing debt collector conduct associated with the CDC Moratorium.  The CFPB and FTC explain that, under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), debt collectors seeking to evict certain tenants for non-payment of rent must provide such tenants with “clear and conspicuous notice” that the tenant may be eligible for temporary protection from eviction under the CDC Moratorium.  The final rule provides that notice must be given on the same day as the eviction notice, or on the date that the eviction action is filed if no eviction notice is required by law.  Sample language that will satisfy the FDCPA final rule is attached to the Notification Letter.

The Notification Letter further emphasizes that, under the final rule, debt collectors must not falsely represent or imply to a consumer that the consumer is ineligible for temporary protection from eviction under the CDC Moratorium.

Although the Notification Letter makes clear that neither the FTC nor CFPB has determined whether any particular apartment landlord is violating the law, the agencies “may still take action based on law violations” and “will continue monitoring eviction practices to evaluate whether further action is appropriate.”

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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