Have you heard the latest news about illegal evictions? Because so many families are affected by the pandemic, especially those who are minorities, renters and tenants are now offered special protections against unlawful evictions.
This year, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Acting Director Dave Uejio and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Acting Chairwoman Rebecca Slaughter issued a statement about their agencies’ work to stop illegal evictions and protect American consumers facing economic hardship due to COVID-19.
The joint statement referenced a March 1 CFPB finding that the pandemic endangered renters.
An estimated 8.8 million people in the U.S. are behind on rent, with many people being people of color. In addition, the statement concluded that there are reports of forceful evictions before many tenants were aware of their rights.
Because of that, the CFPB and FTC are monitoring these events closely to ensure that they comply with applicable laws. Violations of these laws, or even threats without making renters aware of their rights, violate federal laws such as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and Federal Trade Commission Act.
The CFPB and FTC concluded the joint statement by warning they will not tolerate “illegal practices that displace families and expose them…to grave health risks.”
In April, the CFPB also issued an interim final rule to prevent illegal evictions, supporting moratoriums issued by the CDC. For example, suppose a tenant fails to pay rent when they cannot afford it.
In that case, it is unlawful for the landlord to issue evictions if the renter would be driven into homelessness or a shared living situation that is less than ideal.
Any debt collectors must disclose this information to renters, so they are made aware of their rights. They cannot misrepresent any eligibility that renters have to be protected under this moratorium.
All debt collectors, especially those representing landlords, must ensure that tenants are aware of their rights under the CDC order and give ample notice of those rights. Otherwise, debt collectors, collection agencies, landlords, and property owners can face prosecution or lawsuits from tenants.
This rule comes just a few weeks after changes to mortgage servicing rules were issued to help prevent foreclosures during the pandemic.
These rules and orders are intended to prevent any harm caused to families in the U.S. who the pandemic might have financially impacted. With so many affected by hardships this year, it’s great to learn that the CFPB is looking out for those who need protection from predatory or illegal practices.